i made eleanor cry. (by josh)

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IMG_0414I took this picture two nights ago while lying in Eleanor’s tiny toddler bed putting her to sleep. Sometimes on the nights I put them to bed,  before they doze off, I take some extra time to whisper in their ears and tell them how great they each are.

Before I took this photo, I was telling my daughter how much I love her, how grateful I am that she is my daughter, that she makes me SO happy, that’s she is a good girl and smart and funny, that I wouldn’t want anyone else in the world to replace her, how I wouldn’t change anything about her, and some other stuff I was really feeling I wanted and needed to tell her…then we said a little prayer where I thanked God for her, and I realized she hadn’t whispered anything or moved for a while.

I thought she had fallen asleep, but then I heard her bring her hand up to her face and move it back and forth. I assumed she was trying to get her hair out her face, so I tried to help put her hair behind her ear. When I felt something wet, I got worried and cracked open the window curtain only to see her eyes wet. “Eleanor, are you OK?” No answer. “Eleanor, were you crying?” She nodded. “Were you crying because you were happy or sad?” “Happy,” she whispered back.

I closed the curtain, lay back down, pulled my daughter close, and held her tight until she fell asleep. I quickly snapped this photo because I wanted to remember how I felt sharing my love for her and how she felt hearing me do so.

I was so surprised that she would or could respond this way. She is only 3 and 9 months old.  And I’ve been telling her how much I love her, praising important qualities and encouraging her to state affirmations since before she could talk, for probably 2 years at least, knowing that it will affect how she views herself. I do the same with Samson. But I have to think that it hit her deeper this time. We even talked about it a little bit the next morning because I wanted to see how she felt. She smiled…

There are plenty of moments during the day and week when I give them feedback and coaching and do time-outs and do-overs and whatnot so I make a conscious effort to make sure they hear and feel plenty of good things about themselves throughout the day too. These moments are full of love and hugs and kisses and are special. But this was a very extra special moment, so special I thought to keep it to myself. Instead, I hope that writing this down and sharing this will help me remember to always love them and lift them up and that my children are treasures. And hopefully some day they will know that I have always known how great they are.

The photo is just black, but it is one of my favorites.


  1. Stephanie

    Wow, that is so beautiful. You’re an awesome father. God bless your sweet family.

  2. Jen

    My most favorite post I’ve ever read anywhere. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Olivia

    So incredibly touching and beautiful. Thank you for sharing this. What an example for fathers everywhere.

  4. Elena

    This amazing and touching story made me cry. Your children are deeply blessed to be in a home where they are loved and nurtured. I read this story to my husband also, crying the whole time. This is the very heart of parenting. May God richly bless your family.

  5. If more parents too the time to speak honestly, freely and emotionally with their children, like you just did, the world would be a much more beautiful place. What a gift you are to each other…

  6. Bea

    I cried too.
    I think you’re doing a very reat job with your kids. Really.
    You’re great parents!
    bravo Josh!

  7. Lola

    This was so touching and beautiful. My father would do that with me as well. He would lay in bed and tell me about his day and ask about mine. He would tell me how smart, strong, and beautiful I was. These are the moments your daughter will always treasure! Take it from a daddy’s girl :), nothing you give her will ever mean more than you saying how much you treasure her. Your a wonderful father and E is such a lucky girl<3 and the best part is that she knows that:)

  8. Sharee

    Oh, thank you for sharing this – it really struck a chord with me.

    My dad did and said those very things. I was an only daughter surrounded by brothers, and as a little girl, he made me feel like his whole world. I never knew if times were tough – my dad’s love surpassed the stress he felt…and at night he often comforted me when I was scared…or had questions about the eternities. :)

    My dad passed away unexpectedly 4 months ago; it has been truly heart-wrenching, but those tender moments we shared – similar to your experience – bring comfort knowing that the limited years I had with him were full of love and sincere efforts to lift me into the woman he knew I could become.

  9. Helen

    No words needed…just beautiful! :) <3

  10. Billie

    Josh, this is beautiful.
    You remind me so much of my father, the way he has raised me, loved me, and cared for me. Because of that, I know truly how lucky Eleanor is to have you as her Pops.

    I have such an incredible bond with my Dad that cannot be replaced. He is my favorite person in the world. E is just going to blossom into such a special and brilliant human being and it will all be due to you & Naomi; providing such a nest of love and support, and having moments like these.

    Thank you for being one of the great Dads out there.

  11. You made me cry too. You are an incredible mom.

  12. Tanusree

    Beautiful ! Thank you so much for sharing..

  13. Verena

    This made me cry too!
    What a lovely post. This is my first comment for about 3 years. Your blog is so special for me. I cant tell.

    Verena from Germany
    2 Daughters Neele (2) and Gesa 9 Months)

  14. This is so precious! The relationship between a father and daughter is so so important. I love this.

  15. Angella

    This is beautiful beyond words and has also made me cry! Thank you for sharing!

  16. Narina

    This is absolutely beautiful. All fathers should be like this. I can see why you love him so mush, Naomi. This father-child relationship should be desired by all and hopefully lived out. Thanks for being such wonderful examples!

  17. Mallie

    Is there nothing sacred left you wouldn’t share? If your first instinct is to take out a camera in this intimate moment something’s not quite right,

  18. Hayley

    Such a sweet moment to be remembered forever <3

  19. Nicole

    This is just too beautiful.

  20. Marissa

    I cried reading this the first time. And then again reading it to my husband. I cannot wait to whisper in my children’s ears how much I adore them. That they are my bucket list. You two are wonderful role models.

    My husband showed me this. He says this will be our future daughter (since I am very emotional as well).


  21. Vanessa

    Such a beautiful post Josh! Thank you for sharing!

  22. mimsie

    Sorry. Didn’t make me tear up.

  23. Danny

    You are such an inspiration… THANK YOU so much for sharing.

  24. Abby

    It MIGHT be cute if you weren’t so proud of yourself. This is clearly about YOU, not your daughter.

    It’s too bad everything is exposed; some things should be sacred.

  25. mara

    what an incredibly sweet daddy/daughter moment to share with the world. we need more stories like this, don’t we? tears in my eyes, for sure. i can’t wait to get home and snuggle my own little princess. and i love that you tell her all these important things, even when she was too little to understand. i am going to start doing this tonight! THANK YOU!

  26. Carrie

    What a wonderful father you are Josh. And gorgeous that you shared that with us as its a great reminder for us parents.
    I was blown away when at the age of about 18 months my Scarlett cried after reading the book “Guess how much I love you” with me. Now I’m used to her ‘happy’ tears. She’s a sensitive, deep thinking, beautiful girl.
    The greatest thing my Dad ever did for me and my siblings was (and still is), that he told us all the time how much he loved us and how great we were/are. He also cries with happiness in front of us and now also tells his grand babies how incredible they are.
    Eleanor Samson and your future babes are so blessed to have the love of two such beautiful parents.
    X Carrie (NZ)

  27. Carly

    This is so beautiful! We do a similar thing with my son. It’s so wonderful to give positive feedback to our little ones. Sometimes the day is full of a way to many “no”s and time outs that they forget how much we love them.
    The Doctor Diva

  28. Sarah

    I refreshed the page twice thinking the picture wouldn’t load! (duh) What a beautiful post, this blog is such a refreshing reminder that there are still wonderful people in this world. As always, thank you for sharing!

  29. Jane


    This a truly beautiful piece of writing. Thank you for sharing it.:)

    I have a daughter and a husband. And yes, this is what it’s all about…

  30. Jodi

    So sweet…something I need to remember. I have 3 kids under 4 and sometimes it’s hard to have those moments but they are needed.
    A nice reminder.

    Thank you!

  31. Eleanor

    You’re making another Eleanor cry over here

  32. Rheagan

    It is great to see this side of parenting. It is often overlooked.

  33. emily

    parenting goals. you guys are perfect.

  34. Krysten

    This made my heart melt…

  35. Sita K

    Ok, I love this blog and have kids the same ages as your guys and have always felt like I’ve understood your lives and the whole process, but this post…. this post, has changed me. Thank you for sharing this, we all need to do this more often, and how sweet of you to share your most intimate moments with us for that reminder. thank you, inspiring, and so beautiful! I spent this evening doing the same.

  36. Oh my, this is so precious…. and props to Josh to be such a good dad :’)

  37. Mia

    OK,you made us cry too…

  38. Sheri

    This is beautiful

  39. Julianna

    Aww this made me cry! What a beautiful special bond, She will always know for certain and feel special for the love she receives from her papa!

  40. Josephine

    Wow. That is the sweetest story. Thank you for sharing.

  41. myriah

    bawling. josh. wow.

  42. Mariah

    Such an inspiration to me! As a child, I didn’t always hear these words and it just warms my heart when families like yours share the love you have for one another, I know for certain that I am not the only one when I say that the dynamic of your family is something that inspires hearts all around the world. xo.

    Love from Minnesota

  43. Mun

    I just really admire the way you little family interacts with each other. Lots to be learnt from :)xx

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  45. Oh, Josh… I have tears!

  46. Rachel

    This is beautiful. I’m thankful that there are fathers like you with little girls like Eleanor. So good.

  47. Brooke

    How beautiful and moving! Y’all are awesome parents as seen through your photographic portrayals. I hope one day to be as cool, loving and fun as you and Taza. I think it is so awesome that your littles have such bright personalities and you can see the love and sparkle in all of your eyes.

  48. Kerilyn

    Thank you for sharing this Josh. I can’t wait to start this tradition when my little one gets a little older. Beautiful.

  49. This was one of the sweetest things I’ve read in awhile. Telling your children how much they mean to you and reminding them of the fact that they are important and cherished is so important and often overlooked. Thank you for sharing and inspiring. I hope that my husband and I will be able to and will remember to do this with our children once we start our own family. <3

  50. Morgan

    this made me cry…of course. because i’m a mom now and everything makes me cry. but this is the sweetest thing ever. you’re a good daddy. thanks for the example.

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  52. Anamaria

    This is really, truly beautiful. I remember my dad having the same little talks with me before I went to when I was little. He would rub my hand or caress my face and whisper his love for me. It made me feel safe and loved. He passed almost 6 years ago now, and it was the hardest thing knowing that someone who loved me so much wouldn’t be able to be there for me anymore. Recently, I found a notebook filled with notes to about his worries, his hopes, his dreams, adventure times we had, silly times. I’m so happy to have found his voice there for me again.

    Maybe you should write your children too sometimes. Your voice can always be with them. It’s so special.

  53. Melisa

    That Was the sweetest thing I’ve ever read, it made me cry cause I was happy too. What a sweeet sweet memory!

  54. Nereah

    This made me tear up. So beautiful.Words hold so much power. I’m glad that you, as E’s father, are taking the initiative to let her know that she is worth something and I have no doubt she will grow to be a confident woman.

  55. Almudena

    Dios os bendiga. Sois una familia ejemplar, gracias por compartir vuestras vivencias. From Madrid, SPain.

  56. Ri

    I seldom comment, and know this is not a brand new post, but this was absolutely precious and envisions everything I hope to offer my future children. Hooray for Josh and celebrating wonderful, thoughtful, loving parents! Surely, with both of your loving guidance, Eleanor and Samson will make the world a kinder place! :)

  57. Mariana

    I discovered your blog when i was pregnant. I dont usually write comments because my english is not so good, im from Yucatán, Mexico. But this time i really want to make an effort and thank you for this post. My boy is now 1 year 4 months, and this post really remainds me how blessed i am and how important is that he knows everything that he is and he brings to our lives. Sometimes we can forget that, but i dont want to. So thank you for share and inspire other parents like me. Happy holidays!!

  58. I

    I am not sure I want kids. Most days I am convinced that I don’t. This post made me cry and makes me want kids :-) Beautiful and touching story.

  59. Katie

    So very heartfelt, so very touching. E & S are the luckiest to do life with you and Naomi as parents. So much love and happiness. This post brought tears to my eyes, wishing I could have had this as a child. Even at 3, E knows how blessed she is to have a father that whispers to her just how special she is.

  60. Toyosi Oyelola

    this is making me cry all the happy tears. so so so sweet!

  61. Kaela

    You have always seemed meant to be a dad. Your love will influence them in so many ways for the rest of their lives.. Beautiful moment. Thank you for sharing.