Open Letter

To the Dad Tearing Up Over Unspilt Chocolate Milk


I saw you today. Your body was firmly planted in the corner of the cafe but you were somewhere else. Both eyes were glazed over and you moved on autopilot, one hand rocking a sleeping newborn and the other holding a box of chocolate milk. Your eyes were teary, lost in the quicksand of a racing mind. I wondered what was breaking your heart so deeply and my heart broke a little too.

Your cheery, curly haired little girl tried her very hardest to get her wiggly straw into the plastic-sealed hole of her chocolate milk, which she had eagerly pried out of your hand while you were lost in the darkness of your thoughts. She tried and tried and tried, but her little hands were just too little. She looked up at you with her big brown eyes and said, “I need help Daddy.”

“Daddy.”

That word changed everything. Your eyes cleared and you were present. You placed the straw into the milk and scooped up your curly haired girl’s too little hands. She held your hand for a moment and looked at you with eyes that said, “you are my hero.” She sipped her milk. You looked at her with the focus of a sniper and said, “I love you so, so much honey.” I saw you tear up again, but this time I didn’t need to wonder what was breaking your heart. And mine broke (again) a little too.

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