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Crossing the clothing store parking lot, my twelve-year-old daughter, Madeline, stepped into stride beside me and slid her hand into mine. Her thinly fingers only slightly arched, she barely gripped my palm. Her grasp was awkward. But it was beautifully awkward in that the gesture was unprompted.

We strolled along, and as we did, had I not kept hold, her hand would’ve fallen away. She was letting me lead. She was letting me do the holding—as if she were little again.

Once we arrived at the store’s entrance, the sliding glass doors parted to reveal a busy row of clerks serving lengthy lines of back-to-school parents shepherding their own lambs—some of whom were teenage boys. Madeline gave a gentle tug. I knew why, but I didn’t want to let her go. And yet, I did. The defectless moment, as easily as it had come, dissipated into the fluorescent noise of the crowded store.

Still, it was a moment I’ll never forget.

It’s not that I don’t hold either of my daughter’s hands, making this an otherwise odd occurrence. In fact, my youngest daughter, Evelyn, is still found hurrying into such times with her father. Madeline, however, is becoming less inclined to offer herself this way, and so when it happens, it’s most certainly intentional, and thereby affecting. It’s in these moments with my children that I feel the weight of Marcus Aurelius’ words when he meditated: “Some things are hurrying into existence, and others are hurrying out of it; and of that which is coming into existence part is extinguished.”

A most unfortunate verity.

A few evenings later, I was stirred to recall the occurrence while reviewing a dram of the West Cork Original Irish Whiskey. I’m thinking it came to mind because, like that memorable instance in the parking lot with Madeline, the West Cork nestled in beside me and offered a most unexpected pleasantness.

With a gentle, almost dainty hand, the whisky is more than inviting. It’s engaging. It reaches up and out of the Glencairn, brushing scents of malt, creamy vanilla, and citrus into the nose. With those same digits, its touch is soft to the palate, rendering the very same delights already teased.

The finish is short, leaving behind a fast-fleeting dash of peppered caramel and the sense of having enjoyed something that you wish was a little less temporary.

Like the short-lived days of a father who loves to hold his little girl’s hand.

A beautiful super hero standing next to a cardboard stand up.