Our family was in Seaside Oregon to celebrate a birthday. After a long day and a late night, we settled into the hotel room. I knew the next day would be another busy day filled with activities and the kids playing with their cousins. I was ready to sleep; it felt like I just put my head on the pillow when I felt a tap.
In my head, I thought to ignore the tapping and it will go away. I do not hear my kids screaming in pain; Daddy just wants to sleep. More tapping on my shoulder. Then the soft voice of my daughter, “Daddy, are you awake?” As I slowly open my eyes I see my daughter standing next to my bed; the early morning light was just starting to shine through the windows. “I can’t sleep any longer and I am bored.” My first thought was oh heck no; we have been asleep for 15 minutes get back in bed. Then I began to wake up and realized it was 6:10 AM. I had a fatherhood choice to make. I wanted to tell her to lay in bed and try to fall back asleep but it also crossed my mind that opportunities like this do not present themselves all the time. In a few years, she is going to be a teenager and I will be begging her to get out of bed. I told her to get dressed and put her shoes on; I did not want her waking up my son or wife.
We snuck out of the hotel room and went for a morning adventure. It was 6:20 AM on a Sunday morning in the off seasons of a vacation town. There was not much going on this early. My daughter and I walked the main street looking in the shop windows. We talked about the clothes, jewelry and household decorations in the storefront windows. We laughed and told jokes. We walked the streets checking out the waterways and skipped over bridges before heading down to the beach. Once on the sand, we walked and talked as we looked for shells and dodged the occasional wave. About 8 AM, I needed coffee, so we found a shop and sipped hot chocolate and coffee together. As we sat there, my daughter leaned over and leaned her head on my arm. She did not say anything at that moment but there was that special connection between father and daughter. My daughter was happy and so was I.