"Careful," I chuckled, Alexis stumbling over to me. Her light giggles filled our flat, which was full of boxes all packed up.
"That's me," I said, placing a small kiss on her head as I put her on my lap.
Her full name was Alexis-Rose. In my opinion, she was the happiest and most beautiful little girl in the world- although it was coming up to her fourth birthday now, so she wasn't so little.
"What's up love?"
"We are seeing Uncle Mikey,"
"That's right, we are moving into his house,"
"I need a bit more help looking after you,"
"But we can play?"
"We can play," I said, blowing a raspberry on her head. She giggled and grabbed my hand, trying to do the same.
"You're so adorable,"
She looked up at me and cocked her head, her bright green eyes looking into my own. Out of everything she got from us both, they were for sure from her mum. I was convinced they held the same yearn to learn new things, and spread love. Her dark brown hair was definitely from me, as well as her little chubby cheeks.
"You are so beautiful," I whispered.
"Just like mummy,"
She knew Rose wasn't with us, I thought it would be unfair if she didn't understand , but we both celebrated her. Alexis didn't really know to be upset, because I'd always told her how incredible her mum was, instead of how much we should be sad about.
Sure, there were troubles at start, because she was very much attached to her mum in a sense that she knew the heartbeat and voice, but we'd obviously worked on that.
Being a nurse didn't always help, because I was often working long shifts, but Michael was a dentist and my best friend, meaning he could look after her. Ash and Luke were doctors, both in paediatrics.
"Uncle Mikey is going to meet the moving people at home, and we are going to get a special lunch,"
"They're all taking our boxes down to a big van,"
She nuzzled her head into my chest and hummed, closing her eyes. She was definitely tired, because she usually had an infinite amount of energy, but I wasn't complaining right now.
It was quite noisy and she whined, covering her ears. Clearly, she wanted a nap, and this wasn't the place.
"Let's wait until we get to our new home. Uncle Mikey set up a little bed in my room while we decorate yours,"
"I want to sleep in your bed,"
"You can later. They're taking the last boxes out,"
"Where is my tiger, and my dragon?"
"They're all packed up and safe," I chuckled. Luke had bought her a purple dragon which she adored, and loved to take on her adventures. The tiger was what I brought for her a birth, though she loved it so dearly that it never left the house.
Once the apartment was cleared, I took my last look round. I couldn't afford our old bills as a single parent, so we'd settled in the small place. It was where she took her first steps, said her first words, danced for the first time. I'd cried at night, feeling so hopeless and alone, but I'd laughed with my friends and Alexis.
It was the right time to leave, though.
"Now, how does a McDonald's sound?"
"You can have some of my milkshake,"
I went downstairs and confirmed the address with the movers, strapping Alexis in the car. She grabbed her colouring book and crayons, happily drawing as I headed towards the restaurant.
We hardly went for obvious reasons, but recently she'd been on good behaviour and I needed that to continue. The kid could get crazy, switching topics and blabbering on without a care in the world.
When we got there, I carefully lifted her out of the car, keeping my hand on her back. I ordered us both a cheeseburger, but she got a happy meal, the thought of a new toy making her ecstatic. As we waited, she looked at all the toys she could get.
"Uncle Ashton!" she cried, jumping as he walked through the entrance. I chuckled, letting her go to him.
"You need to be careful, we don't want you hurting yourself," he smiled, kissing her cheek. She had the tendency to fall over because she jumped around so much.
"Are you all moved out?"
"Yep, this is our celebratory lunch,"
"I've got Harry in the car, he literally begged to come here,"
"We'll let you get on,"
"I'll see you soon. Maybe I could come and see you in daycare tomorrow?"
She nodded, hugging Ash goodbye before walking close to my leg. I didn't like the idea of her going to preschool where I couldn't know what was going on, but our hospital offered one for the staff's children.
I collected the food and we sat at a table, opposite each other.
"I got a dog," she smiled, trying to rip open the packet.
"After you've eaten love,"
"Please can I have milkshake?"
"Please can I have some milkshake?"
I passed her my cup, taking it back when she scrunched her face up.
"Cold, it's cold,"
"You've got a brain freeze you numpty,"
"Maybe my chips will help,"
I shook my head, amused, and ate my own food. Alexis was quite a messy eater, so I tucked a napkin into her dress that caught the ketchup. It was light pink, and had unicorns over it. She saw it in the shop and fell in love with it, so I bought it.
Although I definitely made sure she wasn't spoilt, I still wanted to make her feel special. I wanted her to come to me and know that I would try my best to make her happy.
"Dad, sometimes I get sad at day care,"
"That's not very good, why?"
"Nobody wants to play with me,"
"I'm sure that's not true,"
"They sit down and play, and no one wants to run around outside, or colour,"
"No one plays with you at the sand area?"
She shook her head, eating her chips innocently since she had no clue that broke my heart.
"Well there are lots of other people in the world who would love to play with you, and when you start big school in a few weeks, they will want to run around,"
"Okay. Uncle Ashton might play with me,"
"He might if he has time, yeah,"
"Do you like playing with me?"
"I love playing with you,"
She smiled and ate her burger, cheekily taking another sip of my milkshake. Her legs were swinging under the table, and her cheeks still glowed.
No feeling was better than seeing your kid smile.