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Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Birthday Wish

As my daughter celebrates her 9th birthday I take a moment to reflect with my eyes very much looking forward. 

I think of my first 18 months with her.  Looking for what we still refer to as "Time Killers."  A walk to the park.  A trip to the zoo.  An afternoon at my parents place.  Something to keep this little girl active, engaged.

In hindsight probably treated her more like an adult than child.  Hell, I had never changed a diaper before and BAM.  Next thing I know I am a stay at home dad.  What did I know about parenthood?  You might argue none than and less now.  She showed me.  Walking at 9 months.  Talking trash somewhere around 2.  Bringing me laughter and joy the entire time.

And as she graduates from dolls, to sporting goods, to gaming systems, Apple products, and now a Yamaha keyboard, I look in her eyes and recall those early days.   She was a terrific baby.  Happy and smiling throughout each day.  Joyful and loving with each passing moment. 

I see now that the child I once pushed around town in a stroller is a maturing young lady.  She spends hours away from home with friends.  She can play online and read.  She downloads illegal apps on her iTouch.  She has practices for competitive sports.  Dropped off and picked up.  More like my old limo days really.  Is it a pick-up or wait and return.  Hope I get a cash tip.

Each year brings her closer to high school, and more specifically, adolescence.  And maybe I lament that time moved too fast.  How many more Fridays do I have when she wants to hang with us?  When will the movie dates end?  Will I actually miss Jack Black??? 

I think I remember Star Wars as the last movie I saw with my parents.  Soon after it was 5 or 6 friends dropped off at the Eric.  "See you in 2 hours!!!"

Will I even make it through the summer?  I think I could trust her to stay in the theatre next to me.  Too bad I cannot trust anyone else.

I write all the time of keeping your own identity during parenthood.  I enjoy certain things and fail to see the benefit in abandoning oneself simply because you have a child. 

At the same time I want to share in all her joys and experiences.  I want to capture all of these moments, lock them away, and have them all my own.  Not an easy dilemma to negotiate. 

But halfway to her adulthood(legally speaking) I know today we have done the VERY best we can do.  That ain't perfect. 

Happy Birthday and thank you.  You continue to impress.  You give me incentive to be better.  And without question you inspire.

A Birthday Wish:

That you remain committed and dedicated to keeping your grades steady.  Will be looking for little, if any behavior issues in school.  I understand you will have a big mouth and try to make the others laugh.  That is in the blood and may come back and bite you.  Don't want the ditching classes to smoke.  No to the acting up and disrupting class please. 

Hope like hell the friends you have continue to be respectful and thoughtful.  A wish you stay away from petty battles with cliques.  May all socioeconomic wars evade you as you enter Jr high on the lower rungs of our town's social landscape.  Friends will like you for you.  And you will see the worth of each and everyone by their character, not bank account.

I want you to continue searching for things that make you happy.  And PLEASE, please temper your expectations.  There will undoubtably be road blocks.  But when the Dunkin Donuts gut fails to put glazed munchkins in the carrier...  move on and come to grips with it.  More often than not most of your problems are going to have tangible solutions.  See how daddy went back to the store and got the correct Munchkins!!! 

Have adventures, find successes, and have fun. 

And I trust when you can vote good things can happen:

We will be out of the Middle East, which by then will be a peaceful haven of opium dens.

Our 2 party System will have been abolished by President George Clooney.  Nothing by write-ins. 

Reliance on Oil is a thing of the past.  Hovercrafts and other alternative fueling machines rule the Earth. 

Obesity is down in America, cancer is cured, and life expectancy is still around 75.   Optimistic we don't over-populate our food sources. 

Global Warming talk has gone away (and such Al Gore!!  YEAH!!!)

The major sports reach an epic agreement to never strike again.

The Kardashians are no longer on tv.

And you are about to head off to a college of your choice.  And you are happy.  And maybe one Friday you will chill on the couch with me and watch a movie.

Too much to ask for 9 years out?  Ever?

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