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Ruth signed me up to be the surprise family reader at Grace’s kindergarten class on Friday. I showed up the end of lunch and Grace was thrilled to see me. As was the rest of her class. When a parent shows up, they all act star struck, as if Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt had suddenly arrived.

We walked to her class from the lunchroom with our hands behind our backs to prevent us from interfering with one another. Upon reaching the classroom, the kids sat down on a rug and Grace’s teacher briefly introduced me. I read The Little Red Caboose (who always came last, but saved the day) and Robert the Rose Horse (about a horse who prevents a bank robbery with a giant sneeze). As I read, I kept catching Grace’s eye and felt my heart leap as I saw her bursting with pride and satisfaction to have her daddy holding forth in front of her class. Each time, I struggled to master myself so as to avoid choking up with a surge of emotion to see my child so pleased with me. Somehow, I got through it. What a wonderful experience.

Later that day when I got home from work, I asked Grace questions to get her reaction. Was she happy I came to her class? Did Daddy do a good job reading? Did her friends have a good time? She astutely avoided all these queries and said directly what I was trying to discover from her in a roundabout way: “Daddy, I love you.”

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