One night, after I tucked her into bed, Namine said to me, as she always does, “I love you, Daddy.”

I hugged her and said, “I love you too, baby love.” I let go, and looked at her. “What does that mean, ‘I love you’? What is love?” (I resisted the urge to say “Baby don’t hurt me.”)

Namine shrugged, no easy task now that she was tucked in and surrounded by no less than five stuffed animals. “I dunno.”

I said, “I don’t expect an answer tonight. I want you to think about it. Tell me when you’re ready, okay?”

“Okay, Daddy.”

As I left the room, Namine called to me. “I love you, Daddy. I don’t know what it means, but I do.”

Anyway, that was some number of days ago. I didn’t ask Namine again, because she would answer in her own time, if she answered at all. Upon coming home from work one day, Namine presented me with a drawing: two hearts, with a line drawn between them.

“Daddy, this is what I think love is. It’s two hearts connected. That’s my heart” — she pointed to one — “and that’s your heart.” She pointed to the other. “This line” — she pointed to the line connecting the two hearts — “is invisible. You can’t see it, but it’s there, and it connects our hearts together.”

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I put it above one of my monitors at work. <3

Husband. Daddy. Programmer. Artist. I’m not an expert, I just play one in real life.