Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Night Is Young And So Is She

My daughter turned 19 years old today.

I'm not going to sit here and lament how old that makes me feel. You all know how old I am, and so do I. On the inside I'm still somewhere between 12 and 25.

Still. There's no need to lament. After all, I've been blessed to know what it means to be a father, and even better than that, to be a dad to three completely wonderful children. It's an immeasurable privilege that I thank God for.

There's something magical about a little girl, though. Or maybe it's hypnotic. Whatever the case may be, it drew me in from the very start and I don't suppose I'll know the end of it on this earth. She is the first person I've ever known since day one. Being the youngest in my family, I never had a younger sibling so this, in and of itself, was amazing to me. But being her dad is still amazing to me. Oh the things you can learn from a girl!
I learned how to sing soft lullabys. I learned how to rock us to sleep. I learned how to kiss a new way. I learned what it means to protect. I learned how to walk slowly, watching for big cracks in the sidewalk. I learned how to talk to a teddy bear. I learned how to listen to one too. I learned the warm feeling of girl tears on my cheek. I learned how to wave goodbye. I learned how to blow a kiss. I learned how to twirl arm in arm. I learned to kneel down while picking dandelions. I learned how to giggle. I learned to tell good bedtime stories. I learned how to be tickled. I learned how to sing into my hairbrush. I learned the good flavors of lip balm. I learned to love the sound of deep sleep. I learned that ears make great handles on shoulder rides. I learned that dreaming is the best part of living. I learned that "I'm sorry" needs to be real. I learned that "I love you" is best said softly and lived loudly. I learned that words can break your heart. I learned that patty cake is more complicated than baseball. I learned that girls can be studs too. I learned that I will never be done learning about my girl. I learned that being "dad" is the greatest honor I will ever have.

If I can grow up to be like her, I'll be happy.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I learned that "I'm sorry" needs to be real. I learned that "I love you" is best said softly and lived loudly.

John, fabulous. This is one of your best works. You have blessed me today and again, called me to be more in some things and less in others. I will print this for my collection of good stuff. If there were a meeting of men once a month on Thursday mornings....I would pass it out.

She'll be happy as she grows up to be strong and kind like her Dad.

Steph said...

She's such a sweet girl, who obviously learned to love from the best.
You're incredibly blessed, and I have this sneaky feeling - so is she. ;)

Wonderland said...

John,

**HAPPY BIRTHDAY**

I do pray that your 'little girl' reads your (mind) blog. Does she have ANY idea that she has impacted you so much?? How much more will become clear to her one day when/if she becomes a parent. Wow.

O.K. reveal the name of the book you read. Come on, there had to be a book you read. It sounds like you have done a wonderful job with your 'little baby girl
Take your left hand and bring it around your right shoulder and PAT.


(P.S. When you walk her down the isle one day...you're going to be a mushball) Hey, a strong, proud mushball that is.

John said...

Hey, thank you guys for all these kind words.

Wonderland-I'm not sure if she reads my blog, but I'm pretty sure she can read my mind though. I take no chances here-I let her know from my lips how much she has impacted me.
And as far as a book I read? It's called "how to wing it on a daily basis" and I co-authored it with a million other dads with girls. :)

kate said...

how absolutely lovely.