My daughter is 10 today. TEN. It is cliche to say, but it seems like she was just born a few days ago. She said to me yesterday, in that kind of bored teenager voice that she seems to be adopting, “Dad, I AM over half way to being an adult.” It’s very true.
I’ve kind of been doing a “ten years ago at this time” thing on Facebook which Heidi accuses me of doing every year around her birthday. I don’t seem to recall doing that, but I must if she says I do it. The story of Anna’s delayed entry into the world has been told a million times and I won’t repeat it again now. Suffice to say, baby Anna was of the opinion that if we wanted her out, we were going to have to get a vacuum and suck her out. Fortunately, they do make just such a thing to aid in delivery.
She is my only kid and the only kid I will ever have. This was a partially a conscious choice and partially a decision that was made for us. I’m always reminded of that Bill Cosby bit in which he says that parents of one child are not really parents. If something goes wrong, you know who did it. I guess that’s true. My dad always tells me that girls from this age till they are out of high school really need their dads – my work is just beginning, he says. I guess I’m lucky because she’s a good kid – not perfect, that’s for sure – but a good kid nonetheless. She surrendered getting a new TV/DVD player for her room as a combination Christmas/birthday present so that she could lease a horse at the horse barn where she takes lessons. For a set amount each month, we pay to help with the food and lodging, etc. and then she gets to go out and ride. She didn’t even hesitate when we gave her the choice. It was horses, all the way.
She is a jabberjaw and always insists on talking to me about things when my brain is leaking out of my ears. She is already showing signs of being a night owl. She doesn’t like to read as much as I would like her to like it, but you can’t win them all. There are days, as was pointed out to me by a friend, that there are times when tangible rewards of parenting are not as obvious as the tangible pains in the ass. There are certainly days that is true (Wednesday each week, for example, when the entire evening is sucked up by after school activities.) But then there are those days that move to even out that imbalance. They are frequently quite ephemeral and you have to be paying attention, but they are there.
I didn’t endure the 43 hour labor that was Anna’s entry into this world (at least not directly), but I would do it all over again for her. I always say that parenting teaches you the true meaning of the word sacrifice. I gave up a lot of things when we had her. But I would give them all up again double because she’s turning out to be not only a good kid, but a really amazing person. I’ve noticed that more and more in the last couple years as her personality really starts to develop a more adult-like edge. And she sounds exactly like my sister on the phone. EXACTLY.
Happy birthday dude-ette. Your dad loves you more than you can know.
(earlier this year, the night of the Kylie concert.)