Today is Ashah Joy Elizabeth’s 13th birthday… so here are 13 things I am learning in my 13 years of being Ashah’s Daddy:
- Feeling ready to be a good dad isn’t necessary to be one. I didn’t feel ready. I was insecure and unsure about how to be a parent—but when she arrived, I fell in love and that was enough.
- Despite my attempts to control and make everything perfect (my definition of perfect: black leather car seat to match the interior of our car, matching black stroller, no kid’s clothing with cartoons or shoes with flashing lights, etc.), those imperfect things managed to weasel their way in – and I survived.
- Leaving her behind so we could go on dates and vacations is difficult and necessary and worth it. She always has a good time while we are gone and so do we.
- There’s just something about her little hand in my hand. Like a picture of everything being right in the world. Secure. Happy. At peace. Wonderful.
- Being the daddy of a little girl has made me softer—and everyone is grateful, including me. I am a better (easier to get along with) person because she came into my life.
- Taking a two-year-old to the movie theater is stupid. The movie was “A Cinderella Story” starring Hillary Duff – it’s a modern take on the Cinderella story. In the opening three minutes of the movie, Ashah yells, “THIS IS NOT CINDERELLA!” and spent the remaining 92 minutes running all over the theater.
- The worst thing in life is watching your child in pain. Especially when you should have / could have prevented it. Like the time she got off my Vespa wearing a skirt and brushed up against the hot exhaust pipe.
- Sometimes scars can be a reminder of the good, not just the bad. Like the scar on her leg from my Vespa – she got it because we were on a date together. Or the scar above her eye that she got when I was chasing her around our living room and she slid on the hardwood floors into our coffee table.
- Too much Disney TV can make your daughter over-dramatic. This is not a scientific fact, but from what I’ve witnessed it must be true.
- Travel as a family is worth it. Even if it means missing school. In fact, it’s better that way.
- NEVER GO TO DISNEYLAND DURING SPRING BREAK. I learned this the hard way and I’m still recovering.
- You can’t give your girl too many nicknames. I’ve tried. She loves them all. Turbo. Lil’ Nugget. Junior. Ashy. Jo-Jo. JJ. Shasha. Also related: you can’t say “I love you” too may times.
- Having only one child, I’m increasingly aware of the countdown… she will not always be in our home. Building memories and having experiences together is a priority. We want to enjoy each season while it’s here.
I love being Ashy’s daddy. I’m no expert at being a father – I’m just thankful that I get to be hers.
You might also like: “21 Things I’ve Learned In 21 Years Of Marriage”