As I write this blog, it is early on a Sunday morning.
But not just any Sunday morning. Today, my older daughter celebrates her 14th birthday.
Me, the goofy, scared, sometimes lacking in confidence, aspiring “Enlightened Male” has a 14 year old daughter?
“Holy Shit” are the two words that come immediately to mind.
Why? Because I have a 14 year old daughter, thats why!
As I am writing this I am trying to desperately hit the rewind button of life. To re-live the past 14 years over because I am stunned by the velocity with which they passed.
It was 8:50 pm on a Thursday that she was born. She screwed up my night of television viewing because Seinfeld started at 9:00 pm and up until that point I never, ever missed a Seinfeld episode. So, she already had something going against her.
I remember the nurses handing her over to me, swaddled tightly with her little face poking through..not even looking real to me as I felt her weight; her physical burden for the very first time. I remember the days in the hospital as we were instructed on the do’s and don’ts of what to do with her when she first came home (everything from diaper changes, to bathing, to feeding, to sleeping…to dealing with her newly created belly button).
The first night home!! Oh my goodness. Laying in our bed, with our daughter in her little bassinet, the lights on and my wife periodically checking on her to see if she was breathing and literally not having a clue what to do.
All the events that have occurred since would bore those reading this blog…I could talk about them for days. But, I have learned so much about life and myself over these fourteen years and its all because of her.
She wouldn’t understand that because while she is 14 and almost half way through her teenage years, she still has a lot to learn about life. Not that I am a maven, but I happen to have age and perspective so I kinda know what I am talking about.
My beautiful daughter reminds me every day to live every day completely. To live in that day and only in that day. When she was a baby and experiencing things for the first time that I, up to that point, took for granted…she re-educated me in the beauty of the world. Seeing her enjoy her first snow fall, walking through leaves together…the feeling of a big breeze as she took in big gasps of air. Apple picking together, going on the swings…swimming, biking, shooting hoops together or going to hockey games together.
I am not a wealthy man and probably will never be. However, I feel like a zillionaire because of having my daughter (and my younger daughter) in my life. The pride, joy, happiness and extreme amounts of laughter that she gives me every day cannot be replaced by any thing or any amount of money.
As a teenager, she sometimes tests my patience and sometimes her behavior disappoints. But I chalk it up to her age and the hormones racing through her body. I know who my daughter is and I know the goodness, kindness and love that is in her. I know, because my wife and I helped put it there. I often get compliments about my children…not only about how attractive or cute they are but how behaved, kind, and loving they are. Yes, to a certain extent, they were born with some of these qualities. But I would like to think that my wife and I had something to do with the kind of people they are becoming.
So, as I will raise a glass later today to celebrate her birthday, I will be doing so with tremendous happiness and when I tell her how much she means to me and how much I love her, that she actually listens to my words and brings them into her heart because she is such an important part of my life.
Happy Birthday, honey!!