Parents

NBA star holds preemie daughter, says it's 'one of the greatest days of my life'

NBA star J.R. Smith has had some amazing days on the basketball court for the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers, but they don't compare to holding his premature daughter for the first time.

On Monday, Smith and his wife Jewel "Shirley" Harris Smith shared the photo of tattooed dad tenderly holding month-old Dakota, who was born five months early weighing just a pound.

While Dakota remains in the NICU, the family is sharing updates on her progress on a blog, and posted the photo to Instagram.

Dakota's mom, Shirley, also held her daughter for the first time, writing about it on the blog.

"My sweet Dakota, your touch has calmed my soul and your warmth has fueled the energy I needed to keep going," she wrote. "I am so grateful to have seen this day, for over two hours her and I soaked in each others presence. The numbers on her monitors told me this experience was all that and a bag of chips for her; the look and smile on my face did the very same for me.

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Shirley also wrote about J.R. getting his turn. "Kota Bear looked like a little shrimp laying on her dad's chest." she wrote. "I called my view of them two a miraculous work of art because his tattoos surrounded her tiny body in such a unique way; she added another piece to the story that was already permanently written on his body.

While the family, and Dakota, have a long path ahead, Shirley Smith wrote that they have already learned so much from Dakota's sudden arrival.

"We both have grown to understand and comprehend that it is the little things in life that truly matters, the things you can learn from and appreciate; the experiences that help us grow." she wrote. "This day will truly be one of many that has a lasting impression on our hearts, we have experienced and gained a peace in our minds that has surpassed our own understanding."

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