Two stories, that’s all for 2022 so far. 2,422 words compared to say 2019 when I wrote 66,300 words. What’s the matter, the words just aren’t flowing, your life isn’t as excited, you don’t have any nice things to say about your family? Is that it? I had all these plans to detail the last year of high school for my oldest and the first year of high school for my youngest. I’d write about the first last day and dance recitals and prom and all the things in between.
I thought I’d be apologizing to my youngest because this year all my stories would be about all the lasts with my Meghan, my senior in High School. Each moment a little more precious because at any moment with Covid things could be cancelled and that for 2 years life was sort of just put on hold and events were altered and zoomed and masked and socially distant. So,each moment she got to live out in her senior year in real life was going to be so special for her and her Mom and Dad. And then they started happening, her last first day of school, her last January, February, etc., etc.… And you know what, I froze. I was so in the moment with all of it I felt a little strange trying to recreate them a few days later in a story. I felt weird about trying to make everything into this poetic “Dad is gonna miss this” moment. I just enjoyed the hell out of every one. I heard a few people even say to me “I can’t wait to read about this or that” and I knew I was just never going to write about them, at least not in the moment.
I wanted to just let my daughter experience it all without thinking about her Dad writing a story about her Prom or the last day she practices with her team in the gold cafeteria. She deserved to just live out these moments. And selfishly, I needed to see and feel these moments just with myself, not with an audience in mind. These were completely brand new feelings for me. I LOVED getting to just watch her grow this year without needing to express each and every moment to whoever reads this dumb blog.
Sure, I want people to go on this journey with me. To see and feel what raising daughters from a Dad’s perspective is and can be. I wanted to shine a light on what every single feeling was like from a Dad seeing his little girl go through Senioritis. No longer were grades the most important thing in her school life. It was more about memories with her friends and teammates and late night’s just living her best life. I wanted to be able to express all my fears and tears, happy and sad all at the same time. I thought I’d have a million words already written. These stories would write themselves. But the words never came. They sit somewhere locked in my head because I’m scared if I let them out this will all actually be over. They follow the same theme as my unfinished tattoo on my left arm. Never finished because I never wanted to actually say goodbye to the reason I got the tattoo.
I’ve got a list of all the stories I want to tell, all the things I need to say but I just can’t. I’m filled to the brim with happiness and sadness and memories of a 5-year-old girl putting on her backpack for the first time. All the way up until a quiet morning recently that my wife and I went to see her at the bakery she works at, and her boss was in there saying all these nice things about how hard she works and how she is so reliable and just how whoever raised her raised a really good kid. Or how her 3rdgrade teacher already reached out to her telling her he can’t wait for her to become a teacher and how he would help her any way possible. And yes, I’ll someday get the courage to write about our last Survivor season we watched together. I’m crying now just writing the word Survivor, so I know now isn’t that time.
I always thought this year would be the toughest to experience as a Dad. A 17-year-old daughter with time and freedom and friends and priorities that don’t really involve Mom and Dad. I thought for sure I would be bald (okay, but that was true years and years and years ago) with stress ulcers and a nice drinking problem to help me avoid all the trouble a 17-year-old daughter could bring. But, and this is completely honest, was my favorite year being a Dad. All the laughs and all the tears just meant a little bit more with that damn clock consistently ticking down. All those lasts I got to see made me prouder of that little girl than I thought would ever be possible. I didn’t think I could love anymore than I did, but my heart just kept getting bigger. Now, I do wish my waist would not have to grow with it, but that’s a story for another day.