It’s taken 13 years but I finally have a teenaged daughter. Her name is Molly and she is tall, stunning, intelligent, goofy, dramatic, incredibly wonderful, loving and kind (who, me, proud?)
The start of “teenage-dom” for Molly began about a year ago but she has been filled with drama all her young life. Puberty has only magnified her ascent into her teenage years and suffice it to say, she fits the role of a teenager to a “t”. Boys, attitude, mood swings…she has it all…and she has her loving parents and admiring younger sister’s support, 100% of the way.
Celebrating her birthday has given me an opportunity to reflect on the past 13 years taking me back to the day she was born. I remember holding her for the first time…her little tush and small back nestled along the inside of my forearm…her little face buried into my chest and underarm. I remember the euphoria I experienced when I introduced Molly to her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousin (no one knew the sex of our child) and the overwhelming pride and emotion I felt and continue to feel as I write this.
I have vivid memories of the late night feedings and diaper changes (hard to forget those) and the excitement we all had at the various milestones she experienced such as walking for the first time, her first words, first day of school…the list goes on.
I remember the sense of wonder at seeing the world through Molly’s eyes, witnessing her discovery of new things. Her amazement at seeing the leaves changing color, feeling snow, going to the zoo, feeling sand between her toes at the beach. Her excitement rubbed off on me and made me appreciate the simpler things in life that seemed so spectacular to her.
I have been witness to the development of her personality…what makes her laugh, what makes her cry…what is important to her and what makes her angry. Having to share and explain the news of her grandmother passing away just days before her 9th birthday. I have seen the evolution of a human being.
So much in such a short period of time.
Many of our friends with, or without children of their own, all experience the same sense of disbelief…”where does the time go” or “I remember when she was just a baby or “boy, did she ever shoot up”.
Make no mistake, life moves at alarmingly fast pace. To wish away the daily, menial events of raising children or to say, “I can’t wait until they grow up….” is fundamentally wrong.
Reflecting on the thirteen glorious years that my daughter Molly has been in my life makes my desire to savor and treasure each and every waking moment with her even greater.
Many people say that the first 5 years of a child’s life is the most important because it establishes the foundation for their adolescent years and as they mature into adulthood.
I don’t agree. Children always need their parents. That need changes and evolves as they grow up, but the need still remains. Furthermore, this “particular daddy” needs his daughters. All the stresses of daily life just seem to fade away when I get a big hug from my girls and hear all that they experienced during their day. I enjoy hearing their stories, hearing their thoughts and helping them solve their problems.
My children enrich my life on a daily basis. They bring me incredible joy, laughter, happiness, pride and satisfaction….there is nothing greater then the feelings of love they provide me and interactions I have with them.
While the reality of my daughter turning 13 continues to sink in, I am grateful for being apart of her life every day for the first 13 years of her life. I am excited for her teenage years. I know they will be challenging and filled with emotion and heartache, they will also be filled with incredible things and great happiness. For now, I appreciate every moment I have with Molly (and her little sister too…heaven forbid I don’t include her!!).
Do you have a newly-minted teenaged child or feel compelled to share some of your thoughts about parenthood? As an aspiring “Enlightened Male”, I would love to hear from you. I could talk for days and days about my girls. What about you?