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Taking Off Your Training Wheels

Sweet

I Love You More Than Christmas 

image property of sweetandweak.com

You definitely didn’t come easy.  Or cheap for that matter.  One day when you are older, your mom and I will explain to you about the doctors visits and the treatments and why we still sometimes call you a miracle.  Tomorrow will mark six whole years that you have been in our life and six years that we have been clocked in for one of the best jobs life has to offer.

You were pretty tiny on that first day and none of the clothes we brought to the hospital even fit you.  Now you had one of the top cubby holes in kindergarten because you were one of the few that were tall enough to  reach it.  Preemie clothes and top shelf cubbies may be the physical bookends of your life right now but it seems like you are adding a new story everyday and I am so proud of what you already have in your collection.  If your life were a bookshelf, most of it would be empty shelves right now and when I think about the kind of little girl you are growing up to be, it makes me excited to have a front row seat as you fill it up with the stories of your life.

I took the training wheels off you bike on Memorial Day weekend and as I slowed down my jog and let go of your seat you peddled  away from me on your own, leaving me standing in the street full of pride and a lump in my throat.  I couldn’t help but think of that moment as a metaphor for the rest of your life.  As a parent, we can only take you so far in every experience until we have to let you go so you can fully experience the joy of being submersed into life with the realization that your floaties have been left behind and you are treading water on your own.

All of that may sound silly because you are still only 6 years old and the list of things you can do without us still pales in comparison to the list of things you need us for.  From this point forward though, only one of those lists can grow.  I cannot put into words the unabashed joy that you have brought into our life.  Six years ago, everything in my world became more because you were in it.

Right now you still probably think I am the coolest and funniest guy in the world but I know that won’t last forever.  I cherish it though, and even though my arms tire faster from picking you up and swinging you around, I want to keep doing it until your smiles diminish or my other rotator cuff tears, whichever comes first I guess.  If my hugs ever feel a bit tighter than normal sometimes it is because I am trying to get them to soak in extra deep.

I am so proud of the stories you have written so far and so excited about the chapters and volumes that you will get to add to your little life.  You are a smart and beautiful little girl and have that kind of personality that makes all of the places you wander to, better while you are there.  You love to laugh maybe more than anything and I know we will always share that as a special bond.  You make me proud to be your dad and excited for all of the experiences that life has on tap for us to share together.

I used to think I wanted to stop you from growing and keep you little forever but if I had been given one glimpse of who you are now, those feelings would have been replaced with the excitement of getting here.  I watch how you learn and respond to things around you and the love and protection you show for your family (especially your little sister) and I couldn’t be more proud.  You are putting your imprint on my life just as definitively as I am putting mine on yours.  In fact, thanks to you I would be willing to go toe to toe with anyone on “Good Luck Charlie” trivia.

These next several stories are going to be so much fun and I can’t wait to live them out together.  You still have a long way to go before leaving me behind with a lump in my throat is more than just a metaphor.  We are going to have a great time filling your pages with memories and I hope one day you look back and one of the best ones was the day you turned six years old.

I love you more than anything in the world, even Christmas.

Happy Birthday

**Writing an emotional and kinda sappy letter to your daughter and letting strangers read it and making someone tear up is totally sweet.

 

Weak

The Birthday Momatition 

image via Pinterest

I know that I am a pretty plugged in dad when it comes to parenting stuff but keep me out of the whole competition or momatition.  Not everyone is guilty by any means, but I see it on social media and recognize the subtle pressure that builds when you spend 5 days constructing a chocolate fountain out of Legos for your son’s birthday or hire a calligraphist to write the invitations on scrolled up pieces of birch bark because this year’s theme is “the camping party.”

We did a few birthdays at our house and while lots of time, effort, and money were put into them, we never got to the point of having a dump truck full of sand turn our backyard into a beach party.  That is because we aren’t crazy.  Our daughter, on the other hand, has only wanted to have her birthday at Chuck E. Cheese for about as long as she could talk.

While we haven’t been to germ-fest USA for a Chuck E. Cheese party yet, the whole birthday party somewhere that isn’t your house is the best idea ever.  I mean, there are still streamer remnants hanging from the unfinished ceiling of our garage from when our daughter turned 4.  Getting to leave all of that behind when you head home is awesome.

You may be a little put off that the goodie bags are actual bags instead of re-purposed mason jars and that the birthday cake came from a store and is probably choc-full of gluten (whatever that is) but the difference between the two types of parties really lies in the fact that the next day both kids are a year older but only one set of parents will spend the rest of the weekend cleaning up.

Using something as peasant like as the mail to deliver invitations and not creating our own wrapping paper with our handy stamp kit may not make us famous on Pinterest but not having to deal with the glue gun burns or the 27 trips to and from the craft store is a pretty good trade-off.  Kid’s birthday parties are awesome but when they get turned into a momatition it is totally weak.

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About Simon

I am a husband and a dad of two little girls. I am a lone Y chromosome and am already planning my escape strategy to deal with the estrogen flood that is on its way. People say there is a lot of joy to be found in the simple things and I have found they can provide a healthy dose of anti-awesome as well. I am, in general, a pretty optimistic guy and needed a bit of a creative outlet; so here it is. Thanks for stopping by. View all posts by Simon

85 responses to “Taking Off Your Training Wheels

  • 50peach

    First-time reader and Yeah Write-r. Must say, your daughters are lucky to have you. Lovely parallel with the bookshelves and stories. Well done.

  • Write Rinse Repeat

    What a beautiful post. My daughter turns 6 this weekend. Her training wheels just came off, too. I really enjoyed this one.

  • Michelle Longo

    I hate the momatition. And yet I sometimes get sucked in. We did our first out of the house party this year and it was the most wonderful thing. Never again will I have a party here. Ever. The first part was super sweet.

  • vinobaby

    Dads are totally not supposed to write stuff that sweet. You have some lucky little girls. Cheers to you all.

  • tara pohlkotte

    with my son turning 6 next month, i was right there with you. Also? boys are awesome. they just want to do laser tag 🙂

  • raisingivy

    Happy Birthday to your beautiful six-year-old! It just gets better and better, I can say from my vantage point of mama to a ten-year-old and a thirteen-year-old. Keep those sweet letters comin’!

  • SouthMainMuse

    Your daughters are very lucky to have a dad that is so devoted. That was my dad towards his two girls. And when there was just one child — I had mega theme parties. Doing all the work myself. Our youngest poor child. I think he’s maybe had one true party. Must change that this year.

  • deborah l quinn

    outsourcing birthday parties is worth every damn dime (but if you price it out, it’s probably about hte same, in the long run, after you factor in all those “last-minute” things you need)… I got over my guilt about that a long time ago. And I had a preemie too, eleven years ago, who was the smallest burrito in the nicu – and now he’s a star soccer player, confident and healthy. All kids are miracles but those teeny weeny ones sometimes seem like more miraculous than others.

  • Michael - DearHarrison.com

    Gah! Great post Simon. This is such a perfect illustration of the cocktail of joy and sorrow that parents must drink as they watch their children grow. I can almost feel the pride you felt and the lump in your throat as you watched your daughter pedal away into greater independence.

    I’m not looking forward to those moments, and yet I am.

    Good read, sir!

    • Simon

      Thanks so much Michael, I just read your blog. What a total emotional roller coaster and that was just for me as a reader. Those moments are bitter sweet for sure. thanks for reading.

  • Joseph Cereola

    The dad coolness factor ebbs and flows. I regained my cool status in my youngest daughter’s eyes when she realized I could help her with geometry.

  • Delilah

    What a beautifully written post. I loved every single word. She will cherish this one day!

  • randomreflectionz

    So, so sweet. I could totally relate, having just taken the training wheels off my sons bike a few months ago. The growing up thing is so bittersweet.

  • Carrie

    It’s so true. After a certain age the list of what we do for them grows smaller than the list they can do for themselves. What a reat way to put it!

  • Mayor Gia

    Aw, what a sweet letter. She’s going to cherish it one day

  • mamamash

    Take you so far before we let go. That’s the heartbreak and pride of parenting all in eight simple words.

  • Ado

    I loved this post. You should enter it into the Yeah Write link up every Tuesday (www.yeahwrite.me). Or any of your posts! (-: This one was great.

  • themeepingkoala

    Hey, I nominated you for the versatile blogger award.

  • mfhm80

    oh, great post! i did tear up! + the momatitions really do need to end – thanks so much!

  • mom

    so many things to love, Your dadness ranks high

  • Andrew

    All I have to say is, that my parents better write a similar letter for me next birthday.

  • Michelle Gillies

    Well, you certainly made me tear up. When your daughter reads this when she is 26 (ouch, sorry), she will tear up as well.
    I couldn’t agree with you more about the “momatition”. I recently witnessed my beautiful young niece (who I love more than Christmas), have a total meltdown at her daughter’s birthday. She is a single, working, Mom, trying to finish nursing school and determined to see her daughter not want for anything. It was a Chuck E. Cheese party, because she really has no space for a home party. I believe my little Grandniece was too young for this location, my niece spent too much of her hard earned cash on this location and the pressure to have this party was overwhelming for her. It broke my heart to see her so distressed and the little one was oblivious to everything.

    • Simon

      Thanks Michelle. I hate to hear your story but I think it is more commen than we know and the kids could usually care less. As long as the little one enjoys nothing else really matters.

  • Margarita

    And it only gets better! My daughter’s birthday is a wonderful time for reflection, remembrance, and thanksgiving for me. I’ve enjoyed 25 of them and look forward to many more. Thanks for sharing!

  • Audrey

    Wow… I teared up at that one! Very, very sweet.
    And the mom competition thing bugs me too.

  • hillsidequilts

    Totally sweet! You are lucky.

  • Sara Tedde from By the (cook)Book

    Yeah. We had my son’s birthday at home last year and I was exhausted from cleaning, cooking, decorating, hosting, planning games, cleaning again, etc. that this year, we’re going with the bowling alley. The game is built into the party and they provide pizza and decorations. All I have to do is get some cake, party hats, and treat bags from Party City and I’m done.

  • metan

    “Writing an emotional and kinda sappy letter to your daughter and letting strangers read it and making someone tear up is totally sweet.”

    Yes, it totally is 😀

    I hate kids parties, nice for the kids, hell for us. I solved this when the kids started to get older and wanted more expensive presents. We started giving them a choice between the present we could afford along with a party, or the present they would get if we could use the party money towards it as well. Not had to suffer through a party since! 🙂

    • Simon

      That is such a good idea. I think I would have always picked the bigger present over the party. I mean, I liked my friends but that is kind of a no brainer

  • Marisha

    I am not aware of the second part… or how that works… but the letter is so sweet!! felt like my father writing to me…

    awesome post 🙂

  • FullOfSMyLES

    This is beautiful! Thank you for sharing

  • Sid Dunnebacke

    I can only echo what everyone else has said – what a fabulous/sappy letter to your daughter. Actually, I think you’ve put into words what every Daddy feels about their little girls. I know you nailed it for me.

    • Simon

      Thanks very much Sid. Yeah, I am glad to be done with the sappy for a while now. Appreciate your kind comments, especially coming from a fellow dad.

  • FullOfSMyLES

    I don’t think I could have said it better myself… actually I know I can’t The way you describe your love for your daughter is beautiful. It’s amazing how our children change and make our lives. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Stacie Chadwick

    What a lovely love letter to your gorgeous little girl. I am embarrassed to admit that I pressed custom t-shirts for my son’s 5th birthday and am not embarrassed to admit that I sent out emails when my youngest turned five. Live and learn. Great post Simon!

    • Simon

      Stacie, as always a compliment from you means a lot. Isn’t that the plight of the second child? No cute spaghetti picture and the birth announcements were just a status update on Facebook. Thanks for reading.

  • Maggie O'C

    You need to cease and desist with the making me cry at work shit! I bet you get Pressed again!!

    Um, is that a commercial at the end of your blog?

  • squirrel circus

    Beautiful (and sweet, of course!). I cried when both boys learned to ride their bikes, leaving me gasping in the dust behind them. They have the power to totally stop me in my tracks, saying things like, “You know how you know we’re almost at the beach, Mom? The air totally starts to SMELL like the beach.” Yes, I do know what you mean, and it’s exactly the way I have always felt. They amaze me, remind us of ourselves, and are, at the same time, more amazing than we’ll ever be. 🙂

    • Simon

      beautifully put and I love the smell of the beach. It really is pretty awesome to see all of those little things in them. Thanks for reading!

  • Don

    Just a beautiful post, Simon. That part where you let go of the bicycle reminded me of Kahlil Gibran’s words:

    Your children are not your own.
    They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.
    They come through you but not from you,
    And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

    Thanks for such a moving read.

  • dpbowman

    You got me. Reminds me that my son was born with bilateral clubbed feet. Both turned almost completely upward (Soles to the sky). He had surgery at 3 days old, casts for 6 months and corrective shoes for a year. They (unbelieving medical types) said he’d always have undersize feet and most likely wouldn’t run in his younger years or at all. At his 2 year checkup his shoes were the same as everyone else and he ran down the hall away from the doctor. Take that medical opinion! Totally, totally SWEET!

  • lauriebest

    Great post. I’m long past that stage, but kids do remember the love and care you put into telling them they’re special. And although they grow up, they still come back — if you’ve made them feel loved.

  • Lisa Smith Molinari

    I’m Verklempt and chuckling at the same time! I got sucked into the vortex of the Momatition about 6 years ago. Ex: I sewed homemade bug themed Halloween costumes for my three kids — a lightening bug that lit up, a butterfly with full wings, and a ladybug — and turned our wagon and a beach umbrella into a gigantic sunflower parade float for them to ride for our neighborhood Halloween party and parade that I organized and ran. I WAS Supermom, but I would have eventually died of a nervous breakdown if my husband’s year-long deployment hadn’t brought it all to a screeching halt. While he was gone, I transformed into the kind of mom who ignores the dust bunnies and breaks out the wine on a Thursday afternoon. Loved the post, as always! Keep ’em coming.

    • Simon

      You are awesome Lisa and I admit that I am very impressed with the Halloween parade. There does need to be stuff like that out there but I am sure that keeping up that pace is a bit tough. Much thanks, as always.

  • SzaboInSlowMo

    Oh man, and I thought I had used up all my tears for a while. It’s a good thing you threw out the part about Chuck-E-Cheese to make me come back to normalcy. I don’t miss that place at all! Really sweet. I hope your daughter reads all this some day. She will love it.

    • Simon

      Thanks Sandra. I think I am finished with my sappy stuff for a while now but couldn’t let her day pass without telling her a few things. You talking about your’s graduating is a good reminder for me to take advantage of this time. Thanks for reading.

  • Christine

    Sweet: So, so sweet. I totally get it. I selfishly want to keep my charming and quirky little girl just as she is. Alas, she’s getting bigger, and there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it. That is probably a good thing.

    Weak: I totally agree. That said, though our parties are low-key, I will make The Kidling whatever she asks for as a birthday cake (not quite true. She asked for a “castle with dinosaurs and dragons and a princess that’s getting eaten” and I translated that to “dinosaur”). Two out of the three years in which she could decide, that has been a b*tch for me to figure out. One year it was delightfully easy. I hope next year she asks for a plain chocolate sheet cake…

    Your blog is great. Thanks for stopping by mine so that I could find yours. Cheers!

  • Madame Weebles

    Happy almost birthday to your daughter! That was a very sweet post. And I want that cake.

  • lexiesnana

    Loved your post to your little girl and you are right they grow so fast.Reminds me of that song Turn Around.Thank you!

  • La La

    I will be happy never to be part of a momatition. Great (very sweet) post.

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