David Rosenman is a busy father, but when his daughter asked to go to lunch at a cafe one day, he agreed. They often had outings together where he would do his thing, and she would do hers. He wanted to catch up on some work over the meal, organize his week, and so on. He figured she would occupy herself with something as usual as well. She had brought her little crocheting activity, so he packed up a newspaper, notebook and pen, and his phone.
But that morning, his 9-year-old had a special request.
“Daddy, can you not read the paper or doodle or check email today? Can we just be together?” she asked.
“I’m not trying to be melodramatic, that was her question,” Rosenman recalled on Facebook. So he said they would do so.
“She showed me her yarn project. I recalled the day she was born,” he detailed. They looked at all the other people sitting at tables in the cafe, and tried to guess which ones were on dates and which were not.
“She told me about her friends and their hamsters. I watched her chew her breakfast sandwich and melted a little bit as I thought about how much I love her.”
“I wished it hadn’t taken her past experience and her courageous reaching out for me to give her the attention she so wanted and needed.”
Before they left, Rosenman went to the counter so he could pick up a snack for his son. When he got back to the table, there was a piece of paper left at his seat.
He asked his daughter where it came from, and she told him a woman had come over while he was at the counter. The woman asked if they were father and daughter, and then left the note for him before leaving the shop.
Rosenman flipped the note over to read it, and knew that had his daughter not made this “melodramatic” request of hers that morning, he would not be feeling what he was now. He would not have had the lovely experience he just had, and they would not have touched this stranger’s heart. They would have all been missing something easily taken for granted.
The note read:
“I work at a school where many daughters don’t have fathers & those who do have never in their lives had him watch & listen & devote 100% of his attention to her for as long as you did on one Sunday morning. You have no idea what a gift you are giving to all the teachers who are responsible for educating her from now until she graduates.”
“This anonymous message was enough of a reinforcement for me, that I hope more people might be guided by its power and by its author’s thoughtfulness,” Rosenman wrote.
He shared the note online in hopes that others would heed the message.
“Please don’t wait for your child or other loved one to plead for your attention like mine did — he or she might not. Expect that no one will leave a note for you — such beauty in this world is far too rare.”
“I invite you to share the gift of this experience with me: choose to be present today — even for just a little while — for someone you love. If you see it happen somewhere, consider leaving a note — it sure does leave an impression.”