Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dear Lizzie

Dear Lizzie:

Not sure if, or when, you’ll see this, or appreciate it, but I think this is somewhat selfishly more for me than you. Time is passing by so quickly, so amazingly, frighteningly, quickly, that I want to get this down while it still fits. As I gradually see things we have always done fade into the past, as you grow taller, grow up, the sense I need to hold to every single moment just gets stronger and stronger.

You are an amazing, brilliant little girl, although even now the little seems a bit dated. So smart, so kind, so thoughtful… if I could have listed all of the qualities I wanted my child to have, you would have all of them, and then some. You are so artistic, happiest when you are creating; I see that in my family, but I guess it skipped me. Fortunately for all of this, it came out, and then some, in you. The things you make are always amazing; I know part of that is a proud father talking, but only a very small part. Another, bigger part is the love that is in all of it; you make these things because you love to, and because you want the people you give them to to know that you love them. Just the other day, when we pulled out our Christmas decorations and the “Family” plaque you made was in there, it struck me again how special you are; not an infrequent occurrence, of course, but that was one of the more notable times it hit me.

Two huge things struck me this past weekend, as well, two signs that you are growing up (and up and up and up!) The first was a physical thing; we went to leave, and you very casually, easily, unlocked the front door, on that deadbolt way up near the top of the door. I remember how little you were when we moved in, how far away that lock seemed from your little hand, and it makes me a little sad. Once again we had the “you need to stop growing” conversation, one that we both know the silliness of, but I don’t think you get how serious I am when I say it. Of course I want you to grow up, I can’t wait to see the amazing person you are going to grow into, but part of me just wants to keep you how you are, every time I see you. I will never forget the time we had that conversation, and you told me: Daddy, I’m going to keep growing, but I’ll always be your little girl.” So true, so poignant… and in a way, so sad.

The other thing that struck me was one of those small details, something you probably didn’t notice in the moment. Every time we send you to go get ready for bed, put your pajamas on, you grab my hand and bring me with you. I know you don’t need the help getting ready, but I think it’s just one of those little daddy-Lizzie things that you like… and I love. This past Friday, I sent you to get ready for bed, and off you went. No pause, no reaching for my hand, you just went and got ready. I don’t know if it will be a trend, or just a one-off, but the day will come, and possibly soon, where that will be how it is. You will be too big, too grown-up, to have your Dad (not Daddy, Dad) help you change. The closer that day gets, and I know it’s not too far away now, the more I dread it.

It’s funny, as I sit here writing this a customer at Starbucks I know well stopped to chat, and he is off to join his daughter to celebrate her 27th Birthday. We had a brief conversation about how quickly time passes, and he brought up that day in the future when boys will enter the picture… I shut that down in a hurry. I know it will come, way too fast, but I’d rather not think about it for now.

There are times where I think you recognize what I’m talking about here, and even feel the same way yourself. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but every time you throw yourself on me, or want to be picked up like you always have, it hits me; I’m probably the only person still doing that. You are too big to be picked up, to be carried by your mom these days, and you seem to miss it; the times I pick you up and you snuggle in, arms and legs dangling because you are so big, I sense that you don’t want that to be in the past any more than I do. I promise you, I’ll continue as long as I can… I hope that my ability to carry outlasts your need to be carried. I’ll do my best.

In a way, I guess that sentiment sums up what I’m trying to say here: I’ll do my best. I’m one of the lucky few that has had a father (and a mother) that I knew I could always count on, no matter what. Everyone deserves that in life, but so few actually get it; you will. I can’t fix everything, the fact that you are still making monthly visits to Children’s removed that idea from my head, but you will never have to wonder if I love you, if you are important to me. I think that is already obvious to you, it seems to be, but I promise you a lifetime of the same. It is exactly what you deserve.

I love you Magoo


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