I Love You More Than Christmas
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.
**Writing an emotional and kinda sappy letter to your daughter and letting strangers read it and making someone tear up is totally sweet.
The Birthday Momatition
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.