It was my daughter Charlotte's sixth birthday on Tuesday.
In my house, our usual morning school-day routine goes like this: I drive our two "biggies" (who attend a French Immersion program at a school that isn't within a reasonable walking distance from our home) to their community bus stop, and then when I return, my wife walks our two "littles" to the elementary school we can see from our front steps. This division of responsibilities allows me to help out with the morning chaos that comes with getting four children off to school and still be working at my home-office desk by 8:30am.
But when I first became a Dad, I promised myself I'd never work on any of my kids' birthdays, and it's a rule I haven't broken in 11 years.*
So on Monday evening, I told Charlotte I'd be joining her on her walk to school the next day.
"Good night, Charlotte. Tomorrow, I'm going to walk with you to school, okay?"
"Both you and Mama are walking me to school tomorrow??"
"And can you come to pick me up after school too??"
"Yup! That time is already blocked off in my calendar."
She was absolutely elated.
And I was genuinely surprised at that.
To me, taking 20 minutes to walk her and her little brother to school was no big deal; I had already blocked off the morning, after all, so why wouldn't I go that extra distance (literally)?
But it clearly meant a lot to Charlotte, which was pretty apparent by the fact that this fiercely independent girl held my hand tightly for most of our walk.
Words or actions that may seem insignificant to you can sometimes mean a lot to others.
Don't forget the impact you have on other people each day, whether you mean to or not.
* I did bend it once, though. That happened the year I sent my older daughter Chloë to school on her birthday after taking a vacation day from work... only to realize I didn't have anything to do until she got home! And since I was working as a CMO at the time and had a major marketing campaign launching the following week, I logged on to email and provided my agency with some approvals they needed to proceed. But I was off of email long before Chloë got home from school, so I consider the spirit of the rule to have remained intact.