Sunday, August 17, 2008

Happy Birthday, Princess

10 years ago tomorrow my life stopped being about what was best for me and switched over to what was best for her, although I had no idea at the time. When Ciera came into the world I was overwhelmed at what was happening and had no clue what I was doing. All I knew was I had this precious little girl who squealed "DADDY!" whenever I came home and I was absolutely positive nobody was any better off than me.

Now I just want someone to tell me where in God's name did the last 10 years go? 'Cause it seems like yesterday I was pushing her in the backyard on a swing and freaking out because she wanted to go higher. Or teaching her how to ride a bike with no training wheels, holding her close in the ER when she was dehydrated from a Rotovirus at 3 in the morning, or trying to explain to a just-turned 3 year old why those airplanes were flying into buildings on 9-11.

I've got memories of reading Junie B. Jones books to her at bedtime so clear in my mind I'd swear they just happened, but I know it was at least 5 years ago when it occurred. Watching her swim the length of the pool after taking swimming lessons, with every nerve in me screaming "JUMP IN AND GET HER; SHE'S GONNA DROWN!" or putting her on my shoulders while we walked in the park; To quote the Dire Straights? "So close, yet so far away."

And so it happened that I spend the majority of this afternoon watching this little girl I love more than anything else, having the time of her life on her birthday surrounded by her friends and her family. Even in between making sure Rakes wasn't pushing some unsuspecting guest into the pool and trying to keep Trot out of the women's restroom, I had enough time to realize something significant was happening.

My baby girl had done gone and grown up on me. And while she's still only 10, it'll never be like it was again. Soon she'll be calling boys on the phone and even worse, boys will be calling her. And little by little, she'll grow up and apart from me in a way that I'm sure will break my heart. One day, she'll be waving goodbye from her car while I'm left standing on the front porch, with tears pretty much like the ones I'm stomping down right now streaming down my face.

I know the fact that I'll be trying to keep Rakes and Trot from winding up in juvie for the next 10 years will take up some of my time, as well as the knowledge that trying to avoid having Angie hit me with a frying pan for my latest idiotic comment will be keeping me busy. Doesn't change the fact that one day, sooner rather than later, there will be a void in my heart that nothing will be able to fill.

But as of today, she's still my Baby Girl.

Happy Birthday, Boo.

Daddy loves you more than you'll ever know.


Tree Newt said...

Great post, Jr. I can't believe she's 10. I remember driving up to G'boro to see her for the first time at the hospital, and finding you crouched down, face to the glass in the nursery, determined not to let that little ball of skin and poop out of your sight. I knew then: you had changed forever. it seems like yesterday. Now she's 10, and you're shopping for weapons. Time waits for no man.

Bro, it got dusty down here when reading that one. Because I can see it happening to me already.

And I get to go through it TWICE.

Ted D said...

Mattie, I'd forgotten about that. They came and took her away and I wasn't about to let her out of my sight. It flies, man. And do you know anyone who'll sell me a handgun on the cheap? ;)

Get ready little brother. They'll break your heart everytime.

Sarah said...

This is so sweet... I wonder if my Dad feels that way about me? I do know that even though I live about 875 miles away from home, my Dad still thinks about me everyday, and I do him. I am my father's daughter in so many ways... and he's the one who turned me into the Red Sox psychotic fan that I am today.

If you have any questions of what to expect, I have 14 years on your daughter :) Happy birthday to her, and whatever you do, don't let her see your tears, it'll probably freak her out, haha.

Ted D said...

Hey Sarah! I'm sure your Dad feels the same way. And I imagine my future son-in-law will curse me out for making my daughter a Sox fanatic.

She's never seen me cry and I don't intend to start now; although when I went to put her to bed she did ask what was wrong with my voice.

I told her I had a cold.

Crystal said...

Ted, this post brought tears to my eyes. She is SO beautiful. i have a very Irish/English dad and he sticks to his Irish heritage like glue, whether he knows it or not. He rarely talks, and "mushy words" are never spoken, but I know he loves me and my sis more than anything. I'm 25 and I moved out when I was 18, but to this day I always go back to my dad when I need advise or help with the car. I try to see parents every weekend. So she may drive away, but she'll never be gone.

HorshamScouse said...

Oddly dusty in Porirua too, Ted.

Give Ciera a happy birthday hug from Mr John. :)

Redbeard76 said...

Happy Birthday Ciera, your dad loves you very much! Very sweet.

Crystal said...

Ted, where did you get that image from Team photo day?

Ted D said...

Crystal, that is great you see your parents that often; I'm lucky as well. I get to see mine just about every day. Thanks for the kind words, and I got the photo of team photo day from yahoo sports I think.

John, will do!

And Redbeard, I'll pass your wishes along as well. Ciera and I are heading out to eat lunch and do some school shopping.

Krystle [RSO] said...

Awwwh happy birthday Ciera! I hope she got all the presents that she wanted and then some =].

Isn't school shopping so much fun! Just wait until she goes to college...

Ted D said...

Krystle! How's school? Hope everything is going well.

And I made the comment yesterday that birthdays are getting more like Christmas!

Beth said...

Ted - Beautiful post. Ciera is a lucky young lady!!

Ted D said...

Thanks, Beth. Although I think I'M the lucky one.

Tex said...

so what do sit atop of with your sniper rifle?

Ted D said...

The roof, Tex. Only not mine; the neighbors roof.