Before I became a father, I imagined what it would be like. A lot.
I thought about being there for the birth, seeing that first step, hearing her first word ("Spiduh-Man"). I thought about all the big things that parents cherish during those first years.
But it's so often the little things I never thought of that bring me the most joy.
Coming home from a long day at work and seeing that smile when she first sees me.
Laying her down on her changing mat and watching her twist and stretch to grasp the marker we keep nearby, catching it with tiny little fingers in any grip thaat works for her, and the happiness evident on her face when she gets it without help.
Hearing her babble at nothing, or babble at her chew toy.
Listening to her breathing as it slows, her head pressed into my neck, her little body warm against mine, and then, with a final sigh, she goes slack, asleep on my shoulder.
Just seeing her sitting upright.
Watching her try new foods.
There will be great big moments in her life that I will remember for years afterwords. Her first day at school. Her first boyfriend. Her first girlfriend! But among them, there will be countless tiny ones that might get forgotten in time, but I'll treasure them when they occur.