Friday, June 17, 2005

What's changed?

A pre-engaged colleague today asked me what it's like being the dad of a daughter and if I thought it would be different than being the dad of a boy, and if I found myself being overprotective. When I told her, she said I really needed to write it down.

I told her that no matter whether the child is a boy or a girl, you will discover a love inside yourself for this child that is bigger and stronger than the love you have for anyone else, be it even your spouse or your own parents.

You have watched this child from the beginning. From a point in time when some (heartless, ignorant people) would argue that life has not even yet begun. You have known this child their entire life. When you got married, you didn't know everything about the person you married. I don't mean that they kept secrets, but they had a life before you. You love the person, who they were, who they are becoming and the life you have together. But with a child, you know everything. You may not get to spend 24 hours a day with them, but you've gotten to see them become. You've gotten to see them completely bald and naked, covered in blood and slime screaming with brand new lungs and then it's just gotten better and more amazing since then.

Those that are not changed by their children should not have children.

Lastly, I don't think you can be overprotective. Every step along the way, I've thought "Just as soon as Rachel is a month old... Just as soon as Rachel is six months old... Just as soon as Rachel is a year old... I'll be able to worry less." But if it's not SIDs, it's terrorists taking a school hostage, or the commute home every night, or school friends offering to sell her drugs (no, that hasn't happened yet.) I will not stop worrying about this precious life as long as I have breath. But I cannot let the worry take over my life. All I can do is enjoy her, thank God that He's chosen to share her with us and pray that He'll keep her safe.

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