The screensaver of my laptop is a moving slideshow of pictures of my daughter. As she turns 9 months tomorrow, I am struck by how much she has grown.
It feels like yesterday when we took her home from the hospital. As crazy as these weeks and months have been, I recognize that my daughter is not the only one who is growing.
I am different as a dad. I feel it in the way I think, and how I act.
In some ways, I want to hold on to these days. There is a preciousness in these moments where we celebrate every little accomplishment.
My daughter has this small alphabet toy that requires you to spin it like the big wheel on Price is Right. She will roll over to it now and give it a spin. The alphabet makes her smile. About five months ago, she hit this ball (maybe accidentally), and my wife and I reacted with pure joy.
“She is a genius,” I said with tongue in cheek. It was a moment where she moved from this small human being, trying to survive, to a baby that could make decisions and have her own personality.
And what a personality it is. Like her mom, she is driven. Also like her mom, she has a smile that lights up the room and she, like both her parents, sits in amazement at the most simplest of things.
There is a sacredness to these days. I take as many photos as I can, trying to hold on to the memories knowing that one day, they will serve as a reminder of a special time.
This morning, as the photos rotated past my screen, one photo stood out. She was likely a month old, and we were taking her out for an autumn walk. It was a fragile time, for all of us. I go back to that place, and I feel all of the emotions that those days brought then.
Now, I look at my phone and see the photos of the weekend. Images of my daughter with family, memories of her falling asleep in my arms, and rolling on the carpet. There will be a day when these photos will bring me back to today.
You see, I will not remember my to-do-list, or what someone said that didn’t sit right. I won’t remember my own insecurities, or even my fears. I will remember that little girl, and her humbled parents. Together, learning from and with one another.
In one way, I wish I could freeze this time as it is so special. I will miss it when it is gone.
In another way, I am excited to see what is next. I know I will be wiping away tears at her graduations, ballgames and recitals, worrying when she is out of the home, and taking more photos than she will like. I also know, that I will want to hold on to those days as badly as I want to hold on to these.
For someone like myself who dislikes change, finding peace in the ever changing moments of life continues to be my greatest challenge, and at the same time, my greatest growth.
Today, I am grateful, as I have been much of my life.
When my wife and I got married, we requested that the bridal party process to an instrumental version of “In My Life,” by the Beatles.
It seems appropriate to listen to this amazing song, as I reflect on the goodness of God, and that in my life, I loved them all.