I almost can’t bring myself to say it. It just doesn’t feel right coming off the tongue. But, I guess I have to get use to it because time doesn’t stand still. It marches on at a rapid pace. Sometimes, so fast, that inside I’m screaming, STOP!!! I feel like that right now. On Tuesday, June 22nd, my oldest child, my wonderful oldest daughter, my first baby girl, the one that it seems like just yesterday I was calling “Pumpkin Face”, turns the magical age of 18. There, I said it, or wrote it in this case. Either way, it still doesn’t feel right.
Once again, like I always do, when coming up on these major milestone birthdays, I tend to do a lot of reflecting on the time that’s passed. The first thing that I think about, is that the wonderful day that she was born, was the day AFTER Father’s Day! I never let her forget that I had to wait a full 365 days before I had my first Father’s Day. Ok, sorry, enough of that. This is supposed to be a happy post. Actually, that day was one of the most exciting days in my life. One of the first things that I always think about is the little baby girl with the little red “Pumpkin Face” that I held so carefully in my arms. I remember how my wife would let me give her her last feeding of the night and how that precious little baby girl would drink until she had her fill and would fall asleep while still drinking. But then, I’d still have to take her on what we called the “Magic Daddy Ride” to get her to go to sleep and stay asleep. I look back on the first soccer game, first day of school, first basketball game, first time driving by herself, first Homecoming dance, first Prom, and the many of “firsts” that have come and gone. As many of those things were firsts for her, they were also firsts for my wife and I as parents. Through it all, I see the girl that has grown and matured into a wonderful young, adult woman, who continues to melt her Dad’s heart every single day.
Now, as I think of the present and look forward, the thoughts of just how little time we have left with her weigh heavy on my heart. I think of how little time there is to see her each day, to hear her laugh at any time, to give her all the necessary advice for adulthood (she’d say I’ve given too much), to tell her I love her, that I’m always here for her, that I’m sorry for the arguments we’ve had, and to ask for forgiveness for the mistakes that I’ve made as her father. This is when I want to yell “STOP”, “WAIT”, “DO OVER”!!! But, I know that’s not possible. We all have to move forward with our bumpy road in our past, and learn from it. It’s very strange though because even though all of that does make me sad and nervous, I still have this great sense of joy, excitement, and peace, because I know the young adult woman that she’s turned out to be.
There are exciting times ahead and I’m excited for her. I look forward to watching her continue to grow and mature, and take on, and conquer, the new challenges to come. I’m confident that the Lord will guide her steps. I’m confident that she is ready to make this leap into adulthood. I’m confident in HER.
So, I celebrate this day, June 22, 2010, and say HAPPY 18th BIRTHDAY to my baby girl.