Something a little different.
I was thinking to myself the other day after my daughter came home from a long trip. She was able to travel to Washington, D.C. and New York on a school program for a week. After rushing me and squeezing me tightly, a lot occurred to me. Foremost, I hope I have been a good enough father to her. I’m sure most parents hope the same when looking at their children. For me, I started thinking about how lucky I still am to have a young teenager who likes talking to her dad; confiding in him and sharing (most) things openly to him. How many years will I have left?
I see the young girl who wanted to curl up and watch movies with me. The days when she was sick and I would soothe her as best as I knew how. The moments when I could help her smile away the tears, the times that I couldn’t. All of the frustrating occasions when she felt the need to lie, hide the truth, be lazy, not try her best and have an attitude. The days of asthma attacks. The nights when I would hear her struggle to breathe and feel helpless and think the worst. The regular colds, cuts, scrapes, bumps, and bruises. Slivers, bug bites, sunburns, tummy-aches, and every unknown/unforeseen pain to come across her way. The times when she would fall asleep in my arms, say her ABCs and say them again and again and again, each time trying to act just as pleased and surprised. Reading books before bedtime. Saying our prayers together as only the two of us could. Hearing her sing along to a song for the first time because she liked enough to learn the words on her own. The first time she said ‘I Love You’ for no reason except to express it. The first time I saw her becoming more of an adult and less of a child.
All of these moments are in the past. Relived and recounted in memories. Completed things, unable to redo with her again.
The things of the past are endless and will never fully fill a person’s heart. The things to come were what truly made me emotional. Thinking of the woman she is becoming and the choices she makes. Her ever-plentiful kindness that I hope never changes, paired with a sarcastic wit that I recognize. She’ll start high school in the fall and I can’t help but cringe at what she might experience compared to what I did at that age. With that, she’ll gain more friends, maybe a boyfriend (lord). On from there will be college and whatever course she wants to steer her own ship. I hope I have taught her how to navigate well and not hit rough waters along the way. My days of tossing around in a hopeless sea only gives me perspective to try and help others.
Looking at my daughter, I see our past, I imagine her future and I smile as I try not to let a tear fall. I’m sharing this mainly because the words want to get out. I have no clue if she will ever fully know or if she already does.