Madeline likes to hold my hand. Not only when we're walking down the street or I'm helping her down stairs, but anytime we're sitting still. Some kids have a security blanket. Madeline has my hand.
She does it so frequently that I don't even notice it anymore. Madeline tugging at my fingers, twirling my rings in her hands, absently rubbing my palm...it's become a natural function of our everyday lives. It's like breathing in and out.
So every now and again, when I look down to realize that my hand is being firmly grasped between two pudgy, toddler fists, it surprises me. And the fact that this simple act of being near me brings my daughter so much comfort and security, is the both biggest gift Madeline could give me and the largest reminder of my responsibility to her. I will always take care of you, little one. Your life is in my hands.