A year later, Emmy and I are still living in that little cottage in Knoxville. She just celebrated her first birthday 3 months ago. And just like he promised, while he continued touring and being very involved in music, he still came back home every 2 weeks. No matter where he was in the country, it didn't stop him from coming back to see her.
One morning, one of those days that Hunter was staying with us, I rolled over in bed. Seeing him beside me, I laid there just watching him sleep for what felt like hours. Until I heard my daughter crying from her nursery. I rolled out of bed and padded out of the bedroom to comfort her. I lifted her out of her crib to cradle her in my arms. As I rocked her back and forth around the room, I began singing to her the one song that could always calm her, 'Wanted'. She stared up at me as I sang, and finally said,
"Dada?" I froze, looking down at her as she also mimed a guitar before I said,
"Yeah, sweetie, that's Dada's song."
I continued to cradle and hug her until her eyes drooped shut again and I laid her back down in the crib. I padded back into the bedroom and curled up again as close to Hunter as I could. It's a chilly early morning in mid October, at least for Tennessee. I woke up again a half hour later, feeling his fingers curling through mine. I rolled over so that I was facing him without letting go of his hand.
"Hey, you're awake."
"Yeah, have been for a while. Just enjoying lying here, relaxing and watching you sleep."
"Emmy woke up crying a little while ago. When I went in to calm her, I started to sing 'Wanted' to her. You know how it's the only song that will relax her."
"Yeah, I know she loves it when I sing it to her too. What happened?"
"She said her first word."
"Really? What did she say?"
"Dada. She said Dada. And as she did, she mimed playing a guitar."
"She did? She knows that it's my song?" As I watched him, I saw a tear start to form in his eye until he quickly reached up to wipe it away with the back of his hand.
"She does. And she loves that song as much as I do."
"I will marry you someday."
"I know. But remember what I said the last time we talked about that? I don't want us to get married just because of Emmy. I will agree to marry you one day, when it feels right. There's no one else I'd rather see at the other end of the church as I walk down the aisle."