The Birthday Girl
Dear Baby Girl,
You asked me to carry you up the stairs today and I had to say yes. I don’t mean for it to sound like I didn’t have a choice because I did. I carried you because the time is coming when you won’t want me to do it any more and frankly you will be too big to carry.
I carried you like I used to do when you were a baby and a toddler. I carried you with your head resting on my shoulder and for just a moment I pretended that you were that baby that turned my world upside down 8 years ago.
Eight years ago. You were born two days after your grandfather’s triple bypass. You have heard bits and pieces of the story but it will take a while before you understand what a profound experience it was.
So many things happened that year.
Mom took a test during one of her doctor’s visits that showed a false positive. It was a test that checks to see if the baby is going to have a birth defect. We were told that it was possible you might have something really nasty. They said it was possible you might have something awful that would probably kill you by two or that you might have Down’s Syndrome.
I spent hours after that test wondering what it would mean if the test was accurate. I wondered what it would do to the family and to your brother. And I agonized over you, even though I didn’t have a clue if you were a boy or a girl.
We took another test later on and confirmed that you were healthy. I can’t tell you how relieved I was. Would have loved you either way but this was great news.
It wasn’t all that long afterwards that grandpa had his heart attack and ended up on life support. It was touch and go for a long while there and then just when we thought he was ok we found out that he had to have surgery.
Things were a little crazy to say the least. I spent a lot of time walking with the Big Lug.
When I was nervous about what would happen and concerned about how to juggle everything he was my go-to-dog. We had to say goodbye to him when you were very little so you don’t really remember him or understand how big he was.
That head of his was enormous. He was big enough that even today you could have ridden him like a horse and gentle enough that I never worried about him with you.
I remember how you used to climb on him. You even fell asleep a couple of times but he let you be. Sometimes I think in part it was because I told him that you were the person I had talked about so many times. I told him that one day we would meet you and find out what you were like and he just wagged his tail.
You are the incarnation of joy and have been forever, but he was friendship epitomized. I miss him and always will.
But This Isn’t About Who We Miss
This isn’t a sad post at all because it is about you. It is about my baby girl who in a few hours is going to turn eight years-old. Hell, I keep saying it but it blows me away to realize that you are this old.
I remember when the nurse stuck you in the warmer and I told you that I was your daddy. I promised to love you and take care of you. You wrapped your tiny hand around my index finger and stared at me.
I told you a couple of stories and stared at you in awe.
Sometimes I still do.
You are fearless and so very smart. I am biased but you are quickly turning into a force of nature. You know your mind and when you want something you are relentless.
One of things I love about you is your caring nature. The other day when you saw I was angry you came over and asked if you could make me feel better. I told you it is not your job and you shook your head at me.
Little Miss Thing, you may get a chance to take care of me but I’ll 198 when that happens. Right now it is my turn to take care of you. In the years to come I will tell you that again and thank you for your concern.
That wasn’t me dismissing you in the way you thought it was. That was your dad saying that now is your time to be a kid. You don’t need to be concerned with everything, but you are and that is part of what makes you so amazing,
I don’t think you are beautiful, I know you are. I tell you so, but I try to make sure to mention that after I have talked about you being smart. That is because I want you to value brains over beauty. That is because we live in a time where I see girls and women spend billions trying to look a certain way and I am concerned.
I am concerned because I have heard some of your friends talk about going on diets and speak in a way that should be reserved for women. I don’t want that for you.
You are more than a pretty face. You are more than your smile.
But I have faith. I trust that you will figure it all out and I’ll do my best to help you along the way.
Remember a few things baby girl:
- I love you and always will.
- Don’t be afraid to let go and live with the sort of passion I know you have. Live, laugh and love…hard.
- Try not to get too upset at not being able to beat me wrestling or racing. As you say I may be old, but I am crafty. 😉
I love you very much and am very proud of you.