This picture was taken 2 years ago on Ciera's 9th birthday, back when Dad was the coolest man she knew and boys and middle school and bullies on the bus were just some random words.
Today, she's 11, in the 6th grade, and while she still doesn't talk to any boys on the phone, my question of "So, you meet any new boys today?" has gone from being answered "Gross, Dad" to "Daaaaaaad." said in the most sarcastic way possible.
So yesterday, in a moment right up there with high profile moments of totally unexpected things like the Statue of Liberty being on that beach in Planet of the Apes, the entire series run of LOST and how in the world did Al Roker get his gig, the following conversation took place between my daughter and myself.
Ciera: Dad? Would you come eat lunch with me tomorrow?
Me: (After falling off my chair and stammering for a few seconds) Of course I will.
So I found myself at 12:06 today in a lunch room full of pre-teen girls and boys, all talking a mile a minute and trying to figure out who the new kid with the goatee and ball cap was. Ciera let me keep my arm on the back of her chair the whole time, tolerated me shooting my best serial killer glare at any male who happened to glance our way, and even talked to me the whole time about how her day was going.
When it was time to go, I figured I'd get the old "I'll see you later, Dad" while she maintained a distance of 3ft 6 inches away; instead, I got a bear hug around the waist, a kiss on the cheek, and 3 "I love you, Dad's." I couldn't have been more shocked had I woke up this morning lying on the pitchers mound at Fenway Park.
Throw in the Sox just swept the O's and are in Kansas City, the Yankees are in Cali to play the Angels, the AL East is down to 5 games, and come Friday it's Sox/Yankees from Fenway with the possibility the Sox could be in first place come Monday?
I'm positively giddy.