I took a knee next to my father’s wheelchair. “Dad, I’m heading to the airport now. I’ll be back in a few months. Anything else you need to tell me?”

My dad had a stroke last June and last week I was able to make my third trip back to Wisconsin to see him.

Each time I go, there are big improvements. He can feed himself, read the lunch menu at his assisted living facility, and laugh at appropriate times when people are joking. But he still can’t move the right side of his body and it takes him a little while to find the right words for what he wants to say.

We hadn’t had any great heart-to-hearts on this particular visit, so I was stunned with what came out of his mouth as I knelt beside his chair.

“You are just as beautiful as ever.”

In an instant my world went blurry as my eyes filled with tears. He continued to speak.

“You are successful. All three of my children are successful. I can be here and be happy. I’ve done my job.”

I grabbed a tissue and allowed the waterworks to keep flowing.

Now a note to all of us parents… may we never stop showering our children with words of love and encouragement regardless of how old they get. I never knew how important those words would be to hear. I never knew how special they could make me feel.

I don’t think for a moment that my dad was talking about my physical appearance. He wasn’t commenting on my hairstyle or make-up or the cute new boots I was wearing (although in a strange turn of events earlier in the week, he did actually notice that I had on cute new boots).

No, he was looking deeper. And his words found their target right in the center of my heart.

Do you want to do something kind today? Take a moment to look deep into the eyes of someone you love and tell them what you see.