Most days Miles awakes just as the dawn is breaking. The night sky is beginning to fade and his room is bathed in soft, clean light; so subtle that I can barely make out the smile that spreads across his lips to greet me.
I warm his bottle and bring him into our bed for breakfast and a morning snuggle. He quickly molds his body to my own, and settles in, eagerly sucking. It only takes a few moments to satisfy his hunger and then he instinctively arches away from me and straightens his legs in search of his daddy. Knowing the pattern, I hug him tighter against my chest, anxious to keep him from disturbing Tony's sleep.
But he struggles, he perseveres, and stretches just so, until his feet are firmly planted on Tony's back. Only then does he settle in for a few more hours of sleep. It's as if in the pale morning light he needs physical reassurance that daddy is there. Ten sweet little toes trying to make a connection, as if to say "I just wanted to be sure of you".
Tony has what I call a daddy-ritual with each of our children. Small tokens and tender traditions which evolve over time. I delight in watching how seemingly simple routines become treasures in the eyes of my children. Priceless to them because of how they feel in their father's presence.
For Miles, it is laying with Tony on the trampoline each night. Together they lay on a blanket, watching the clouds go by, listening to the rustle of the breeze in the trees, feeling the gentle sway of the trampoline beneath them. Mostly, they just stare into each other's eyes, and there is instant, visceral communication.
Joining them on the trampoline would be an intrusion, for this moment is theirs alone. So, although I have not witnessed it first hand, I am confidant if I walked outside, I would find Miles with his feet snuggled up against his Dad, trying to convey all the thoughts that beat against his heart.