To my youngest daughter on occasion of her 6th birthday

“If the new American father feels bewildered and even defeated, let him take comfort from the fact that whatever he does in any fathering situation has a fifty percent chance of being right.”
Jan 25, 2014

“If the new American father feels bewildered and even defeated, let him take comfort from the fact that whatever he does in any fathering situation has a fifty percent chance of being right.”

— Bill Cosby

In a little less than a week, my youngest daughter, Bryley, will turn 6 years old. She will do so whether I like or not. 

And that’s OK with me, actually. 

Though her mother and I may not see eye to eye on this fact, I know I can’t just keep her wrapped in a tiny ribbon with a little bow on top forever. Eventually we all have to grow up. It would be nice, however, it there was some way to prolong it just a bit longer. 

The two older children, Bryant, 12, and Bailey, 10, have already crossed the threshold. You know the one that separates cute and silly from clumsy and disgusting. They are at the point where boogers and passing gas are the funniest things on the planet. 

Actually those things are funny in the right context – I haven’t outgrown that – but they haven’t discovered that context yet. 

And where the two older children are, there’s Bryley not too far behind in their footsteps. She’s just old enough to be manipulated into trouble but not quite old enough yet to know the difference. Thank goodness their mother and I know. 

Just the other night, Bryley and I were having a conversation way past her bedtime. Fortunately the next day was an outside-the-classroom exercise her mom planned to visit the circus, so it wasn’t too harmful in the education process. 

Now I know what you’re thinking. The circus…educational? Well certainly if you consider all the animal biology, physics, chemistry, math, public speaking and other lessons going on inside those rings. It was one day – actually it was less than that since school was delayed Friday for two hours…I digress. 

Anyway, Bryley and I were having this conversation about growing up. I told her I didn’t want her to grow up anymore. I wanted her to stay the same way she is forever. 

She paused for a moment, and I could see the gears grinding just beneath her blonde locks. Then, she turned to me and said, “But mommy has gotten me all the birthday stuff already. She got the “6” candle and everything.”

Well I guess party on then. 

There is, in fact, a lot going on in that little brain of hers, and we have noticed much more creativity from her than the older two, even when they were her age. Boogers and passing gas, remember?

I mean she has an imaginary friend named Jerry for crying out loud. And he’s not just any imaginary friend. He’s one of those minions from “Despicable Me.” He even works at McDonald’s. I was told the other night he was promoted from cook to “the guy who cleans the playground.”

She also thinks she’s a ninja. 

I told you she has quite the imagination. 

On Sunday, we will have Bryley’s birthday party, and the following Friday, she will turn 6 years old. I can remember it like it was yesterday when Mary, my wife, told me about her anticipated arrival during a trip to Palm Springs, Calif. 

My first thought went to having to do the whole bottle and diaper changing thing all over again when we had just finished all that with the first two. 

I have since recanted those thoughts and learned to count my blessings. After all, when it comes to blessings, my cup is overflowing. 

Jared Felkins is The Democrat’s director of content. Email him at jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com or follow him on Twitter @paperboyfelkins. 

 

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