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August 25, 2015

IT'S BEEN A WHILE


It’s been a while… since I saw how small she still is. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the growing and the evolving and the learning that I forget to stop and soak in the now. The way her curls bounce back after a bath or the way her words smile when she’s excited about the story she’s telling or the way she wraps herself around my leg like a cat when she doesn’t want me to leave for work. Everything is happening so fast and right now, it's easy to let one day blur with the next and before you know it a few months have passed.

This summer, she grew more than we were expecting. Her mother and I know we can’t keep her small forever and while some days we want nothing more than to do just that, there’s something beautiful in watching her become her own person. Her head rests on my hip when standing beside me and when in my arms, her legs stretch around my waist threatening at any moment to prove she’s too big for me to hold; regardless of how hard it tries, I’ll never accept that truth.

Sure, her feet grew an entire size and a half over the last few months. Sure, she’s almost at the point of needing a new bed entirely with her limbs pushing the limit her toddler mattress enforces. Sure, she can wash her hands and brush her teeth without the need of a stool at the sink. Sure, she can change her own clothes and sort her own laundry. Sure, she’s four going on fourteen but in spite of every detail that further proves how big she’s getting, when I take a step back to look I still see my little girl with the whole world ahead of her.

It’s been a while… since I wrote some words about her in this space yet there’s so much more to say.


June 25, 2015

MADISON TURNS FOUR




We celebrated her fourth birthday a few weekends ago with family and a few close friends that feel like family. She ran and laughed and played until she worked up an appetite then we cut into a white frosted cake revealing six layers, each a different color of the rainbow. We watched the little girl who fills our home with laughs and questions and dolls and dresses collect another year. Her mother and I watched the person we created transition into the person she’s becoming and it happened right before our eyes. We attempted to blink away the tears of reality that our little girl is growing up faster than we ever could have imagined, but the truth of the matter is time really does seem to fly when you're having this much fun.

Happy Birthday, Madison.

Happy Birthday to you.

June 17, 2015

MUDDY BOOTS


The wind played games with her curls as we collected the miles under our tires and counted the streetlights we passed by. We turned up the radio and sang at the top of our lungs until we reached the spot we unintentionally drove towards, a random field by the side of the road full of yellow flowers. 

“It’s a little muddy,” she said. An observation made by the sweet voice from the back seat that seems to be growing in volume as she is in height, one of many races forced upon us by age.

The mud gave way as I climbed onto it and immediately I was glad we came prepared. We slid our feet out of the shoes we wore and exchanged them for the boots we thought to bring at the last minute. We let the mud hug our soles as we walked through the flowers. We talked about her birthday pausing to discuss memories of the last four years as they surfaced, remembering our first days together, our first minutes together.

I remembered her cries fading to a whimper then to a hum as her body curved into the bend of my arm and her head rested against my chest, a position she claimed as hers from the first hour we met. We sat there then letting the love I never knew existed, the love I never knew I was capable of, fill the silence.

I remembered counting her fingers as she wrapped all five of them around one of my own. She blinked through wet eyes, struggled to see me between the squinted openings the light of the room allowed her to have and once she found me I told her I was her father without saying anything at all. 

I remembered feeling the weight of her in my arms and the weight of the world on my shoulders. The new challenge, the unquenchable thirst, to be the best person I could be if only to help her become the best person she could be. The insatiable desire to focus on the adventure, the journey, instead of constantly searching for the light ahead at the end of some proverbial tunnel.

A bee buzzed by us landing on a petal and I followed her eyes and watched her watch him. It was only a second before his patience caught up with the speed of his wings and he left just as quickly as he came. In that moment she took note of every movement, tucking questions away in the corner of her mind to retrieve for answers later.

Mother Nature sighed heavily and the breeze of her breath compromised the balance of the toddler at my side. My daughter reached for my hand to steady herself and I counted all five of those now larger, but still small fingers of hers just as I did when she was born. There was a time where I couldn’t see myself as a father, but every time her little hand finds my own I can’t imagine being anything else.

We made our way through the muddy soil, retracing our steps as we went, stopping for impromptu jokes drowning punch lines in laughter even though we’ve swam in the same ones for days on end. We stomped and wiped our boots in the grass as a poor attempt of leaving some of the mud behind then we strapped ourselves in for the ride back home.

“Daddy, why did that bee land on that flower?” she asked as I prepared myself for the landslide of inquiries to follow because when there’s one question, there are many.

I introduced a conversation about the habits of bees and their purpose and why they use pollen from the flowers and discussed hives and honey and all things related to the bee life. She smiled and seemed to accept my answer. She found her reflection in the window by her side and watched the wind resume the game with her curls through the crack at the top.

Later, after dinner was eaten and baths were taken and prayers were said, I tucked her in and kissed her cheek. I told her that I loved her. I told her I enjoyed our time together, that I’d see her in the morning. She wrapped her arm around the stuffed dog she sleeps with every night pulling him close and tucking his nose just under her chin and before I could make it across her room she stopped me.

“Daddy, I thought that bee stopped to smell those flowers.”

It was then I realized she could be right. Maybe some things aren’t as complicated as we make them out to be. Maybe some things don’t require a lengthy explanation. Maybe in the process of teaching our children, we’re the ones learning the most in the end.  After all, we pulled over to look at the flowers, to visually soak in their simplicity, to smell them ourselves. I responded with “probably so” as she rolled over giving in to the promise of sleep. 

It never gets old… fatherhood, parenting… seeing the world all over again through their eyes.

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