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For Number One Daughter

February 18, 2006

Man, don’t they grow up quickly. Number One Daughter turned twenty-one this past Wednesday. The picture below-left was taken last week, I think, while the one on the right is from her birthday. We kept her at home for a little while the night of her birthday – at least I can still get her attention with steak & shrimp.Last night I dreamed she was a baby again, just starting to aaaalmost walk, and something had happened to scare her, so I picked her up and sat her in my lap. She was about to cry, and I made faces at her and laughed until she started laughing, too. After a couple of little baby laughs, she said, in her little baby voice and with a big smile on her face, “Daddy.” From my dream perspective, this was the first time she had ever said “Daddy.” It was about here that I woke up, and was either thinking or dreaming that in her saying “Daddy” she was recognizing that here was the guy who made everything all right.

I don’t really know how an infant sees those around them, but I do hope when Number One Daughter was small, along with being the big blobby thing that made coughing sounds on the rare occasion I changed a diaper, I was also the funny-face-make-her-laugh guy, the read-to-her-guy, the hold-her-close-guy, the loves-her-no-matter-what guy, and, yeah, the guy who makes everything all right. I’ve tried over the years to do that: love her no matter what and make everything all right. I’ve failed at times on that last one. I can’t fix it when a boy friend breaks up, and there are times when I have seen something is bothering her and she doesn’t want to tell me about it. I used to push to find out, but it only caused more upset; now I suffer along with her and keep quiet, hoping that things — whatever those things are — will get better. And there have been times when what I thought would make everything all right might not fit into her plans.

But I do think I’ve helped to make a few things all right, the little things dads can do. Fix the bike, skate, car when it’s broken. I can still make her laugh, and that brings me as much joy as it did when she was a baby. We can sit and talk about dumb stuff, and that’s fun. She may still live at home but she has her own life now, and SWMBO and I grow less and less a part of it; it’s sad, but it’s how it’s supposed to be as your kids grow up. I do hope we stay close, though, because that, too, is how it’s supposed to be. Whatever the case, she’s turned into a great person; smart, funny, a bit lazy (like her Dad) on chores she hates, but works hard at the things she enjoys. Nobody on the planet can drive me up a wall quicker than she can – and I think that feeling is mutual. One thing I have done, even in those times when we had the arguments: I’ve loved her no matter what. I hope she knows that, if nothing else. So Number One Daughter, as you become an adult remember you’ll always be my baby girl, I’ll always try to make everything all right, and I’ll always love you no matter what.

From → Ramblings

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