I have a really good relationship with my 7 year old daughter.
We have a lot in common. We both love music, we like to be in the spotlight and we are both extremely stubborn. I love being with her. Even when she is being "difficult", I have a tendency to give her the benefit of the doubt. We make each other laugh.
I see myself in her. She's an old soul in a tiny little body.
She's also my first born. There's something to be said about your first born child. There's a special bond. One of my favorite things in the world is tucking her in at night. I lay in bed with her and we talk. We talk about anything and everything from The Jonas Brothers to my 5 O'clock Shadow. The words aren't what's important. It's the energy between us.
Sometimes when she's sleeping, I look at her and think about how little she used to be. I look at her hands, her feet and how she's turning into a young lady. I'm so proud of her. I made that. I had something to do with that. It still amazes me. I'll never be able to fully comprehend the magnitude of that. Sometimes I smile so wide that it hurts my jaw.
My best friend came to visit last weekend for the holiday. We've known each other for 32 years. We met when we were 7. I remember the day we first met. He and his Mother, rang our doorbell. It was a "cold call" so to speak. The neighborly thing to do. I was sick that day, so I couldn't play with him but my younger brother was happy to stand in. We've been friends ever since.
My friend and I were talking in the kitchen and I turned to my daughter and said:
Out-Numbered - "Guess how old we were when we became friends?"
7 Year Old - "I don't know."
Out-Numbered - "Guess"
7 Year Old - "30?"
Out-Numbered - "Nope"
7 Year Old - "40?"
Out-Numbered - "Dude, c'mon, I'm being serious."
7 Year Old - "I don't know. How old?"
Out-Numbered - "We were 7 years old."
She looks at my buddy as if I'm bullshitting her.
Buddy - "He's telling the truth."
7 Year Old - "Whoa! That's my age."
Out-Numbered - "Yep. Pretty cool right?"
That's when it hit me for the first time.
This is all real. It's not just bottles and poop diapers anymore. It's more than Barney and time outs. This shit is real. She's gonna remember all of this. This matters.
Sometimes it's easy to visualize the future. We plan out almost everything. We dream of our kids becoming Doctors and Lawyers (Maybe not so much Lawyers) or even perhaps the next great Vampire Hunter. But whatever it was that first inspired you to start a family, will eventually change.
You see, it turns out that the best part of being a Dad is not about realizing all the things your kids have achieved. It's about actually seeing it happen. It's about watching it unfold in real time. It's about not knowing.
Sitting there with my best friend and watching our kids play was indescribable. It was surreal. And all I could think about was that first night we met, some 32 years ago.
Who will her best friend be?
The best part is, I have no idea and neither does she...
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