My daughter turns 10 today which means I have been a dad for 10 years.
I didn’t have a lot of fear going into fatherhood. I liked kids, I had a lot of experience taking care of kids and I was excited.
My one and only concern was that they were going to accidentally switch babies at the hospital.
That only lasted until I went to look through the nursery window for the first time. It had been a busy night at the hospital and there more than a dozen little bundles in bassinets but it only took me a couple of seconds to identify which one was mine. Even though she was just a few hours old, she looked just like us.
I knew that I would never get her mixed up with another baby.
We didn’t realize it at the time but there were some complications during the delivery. When she was born, there were 7 or 8 nurses and doctors in the room and the immediately took her over to a warming table without us getting to hold her.
I remember thinking it was strange that I hadn’t heard crying but ignorance is bliss and I wasn’t concerned. They only fiddled with her for a couple of minutes before she started howling. They handed her over to my wife and the room slowly started to empty.
It wasn’t until the birth of our second that I realized how abnormal the first delivery had been. That second time in the hospital, there was one nurse and one doctor and I became acutely aware of how full the room had been the first time. There, in that moment, I was terrified for what had almost happened and how I hadn’t even realized.
My daughter is growing up into a fascinating person. She is ridiculously smart and mature. She loves to read, to write silly stories, to look after her brothers.
She has an amazing sense of humor and we have lots of weird little games we play together.
I know that, soon, the day will come when she starts to pull away a little. I’m excited for her to grow into the person she is becoming. I know I will miss her when she’s big.
So, for now, I just try to enjoy every moment I get with her. To build a big enough foundation so that there will always be room for me in her life.