Thursday, March 14, 2013

She turned 7! Three years past the Age of Awareness and... what can I say? She’s a gem. I look at her and I see my late mother. Mrs. Ditchman wonders where the girl even came from, in that she yet thrives with a dearth of Kanowitz traits, but she is mine, gap-toothed, sensitive grin and all, and none can argue. She’s not the girl I would’ve predicted -the shy, curly-haired, bookish type I imagined when she emerged from the womb, but she is something else. And wonderfully so.

Only God knows what our children are destined to become, formed without our conscious input from the stuff of stars, but I try to relax in it all, and enjoy the show. (Though that is mostly impossible.) It’s a sport, it is, watching these kids grow and then calling out the traits: she’s got your sister’s hair or stubborn like you and she needs her space, like me. And you discuss and debate these things after bedtime, like diehard ball fans debating a questionable call, not because you’re angry about it, but because you’re passionate about the game.

She’s 7! AND NOW I AM GOING TO SAY THE INEVITABLE: They grow so fast! Where does the time go?

Einstein would know, with whom she shares a birthday. (The Little Ditchman also shares a birthday with Eugene Cernan, the Last Man on the Moon. I tried to explain this to her, but she couldn’t quite understand why he was the last one. I can’t quite understand it either, and so we reached an impasse, and went back to Einstein.) And Einstein would probably say that the time goes to the same place it always does, slickly into a wormhole the size of a gnat’s hangnail. But like Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, we change what we observe, and you never pay more attention to life’s passing than when you have children, and watching the time move by makes it fly all the faster. And so be it. Heaven help those who wish time a quicker clip, and God bless those who request the opposite. It’s a gift. It’s all, every day, Christmas morning.

Last Sunday she got a trip to the American Girl store, which, if you are not familiar with it, you should just shut up and thank your lucky stars and save that hard-earned cash for something reasonable. So when the day finally rolled around we had a simple family dinner with cake, and I made dumb dad jokes all the way to bedtime about how I couldn’t remember how old she was. She loved it. Every bit of it. And she thinks I am the funniest guy in the universe, which is fine with me, and all any dad needs to live on and work another day at some job that he swears is taking years off his own life. 

I don’t stop to think about her wretched, awkward, emotional and dramatic teenage years to come, or even consider the unthinkable possibilities of all our so often ill-fated, limitless existence. I just love her, now and forever, and pray I can do my duty and take care of her until I have to let the little butterfly go. And to love her mom in the best way possible, in a way that will teach my little girl to accept nothing less, down the road.

(Far, down the road!)