“What was your favorite part?”

Part of Sierra’s nightly routine is that she gathers the two of us – Mommy and Daddy – into her room and asks us, with all earnestness, what our favorite part of the day was.

Full disclosure: this is a direct rip-off from Dora the Explorer: after every puzzle is solved and the final treasure is discovered, Dora and Boots stare out into the preschool ether and ask everyone what their favorite part of the episode was.

First, Kerrie asks me. Then, I ask Kerrie. Then, we ask Sierra what Isaac’s favorite part.

Finally, we ask Sierra.

What makes this routine so special isn’t that we get to sit together and talk before going to bed – it’s that we get a firsthand look into what makes Sierra tick. Unfiltered, she offers a split second decision on what made her the happiest; ultimately, she’s letting us in on a secret that most kids hold tight, saying, “Mom, Dad, this is the point when you succeeded the most in being a great parent.”

It’s a daily affirmation that she’s enjoying life. It’s a constant reminder that, despite our not always being sure we’re doing the right thing, that Sierra loves us unconditionally. That she’s happy. That we’re doing okay.

“My favorite part of the day was picking strawberries yesterday.”

“My favorite part of the day was going to get ice cream.”

“My favorite part of the day was when Daddy picked me up from preschool and I saw him and I yelled ‘Daddy!’ and ran to him.”

Me too, Sierra. That was my favorite part too.

This was lovingly handwritten on September 12th, 2010