But now that he's gone, it's the little things, not the big plans, that we miss the most. The story-reading, the chess games, the hugs, and the "push me on the swing, Daddy" moments.
Bryan was good about the little things. He credited me with "teaching" him how important small things are in parenting, but he could not have been such a good "student" if the desire hadn't already been in him. And, often, he did things that I would have considered too troublesome, and certainly too messy. Those were the things the kids loved best. Like sliding down the "snowy" driveway on cardboard.
And bringing home kittens for Megan. (This one was zipped in his jacket when he walked in the door.)
Bryan was especially good about talking to the kids. He turned so many average conversations into deep discussions, and he loved it when they showed signs of insightful thought. At night, when I would be tired from the long day, I was ready to rush the little people into bed and collapse on the couch. Bryan, though, would take time with them. He would sit with them just before bed and talk with them (or sometimes wrestle with them and make them completely hyper!) "It's a window, sweetheart," he'd tell me. "They open up right before bed. You have to catch them in that window."
When I was searching through our pictures desperately trying to find just one photo of all us together (no such luck), I found this one. It was taken the last Saturday in May, just before Bryan went into the hospital. He's reading to the boys before nap time. They loved that time. They would carefully select their library books so that they'd pick one that "Daddy would think is funny." I can't believe how happy he looks in this picture. The only way that I can even tell anything was amiss is that none of the boys are sitting on his lap. He was in too much pain for that. But, in this picture, I can see that nothing made him happier than doing the little things with his family.