Last night at dinner, we were all sitting around laughing and bickering and talking about our days, when our youngest daughter Cozette (8) told us that she shared five personal things with her class (as part of a  way for students to get to know each other). We asked to see the five things she shared, and so she got up and retrieved a paper sack. Inside of the sack were the kinds of things you’d expect: a sentimental stuffed animal, a picture of one of her dogs, a lucky button. But then she reached in and pulled out a ziplock bag containing probably a hundred little folded up pieces of paper. I recognized them immediately as notes that my wife, Tina, had sometimes included with the girls’ lunch.

Cozette reached into the ziplock and grabbed a handful of the notes. Colorful, Post-It sized notes spilled onto the dinner table. Some of the notes had little stickers of animals or symbols of holidays. All of them had personal messages like, “Be confident,” and “I’ll be thinking of you today,” and “Smile because you’re beautiful.” I had no idea that Tina had done this daily. But she had. For years. And Cozette kept hers, all of them, in a box in the top drawer of her dresser. I was floored. I looked over at Tina and she was blushing. Until now, this had been something exclusive between her and the girls. But after learning about it, I wasn’t really surprised. I’ve always said that my wife is the nicest person I’ve ever known.

I often think that raising our beautiful, compassionate, stubborn and fiery daughter Cozette must be what it was like to raise Tina. They’re so similar in so many ways. It’s a very cool thing to watch their relationship evolve. Although I have to admit – sometimes, when they are both upset at each other, I just duck and get out of their way.

Last night during dinner I was lucky enough to experience of one of those moments that you know you’ll never forget. Everything kind of just slowed way down as I was able to peek inside of a special relationship between my daughter and my wife. And it was beautiful.


Jim Mitchem

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Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.