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Daddy's Little Girl

If you hated reading The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne in high school, I recommend another book by him titled, Twenty Days with Julian and Little Bunny by Papa. It's a daily diary of a 20-day period when Hawthorne's wife left the two alone to visit family out of town. It's touching and sweet, and I believe makes accessing his other writing a little easier. One of the more entertaining parts is when Herman Melville just drops by for a little visit.

I loved the book when I read it several years ago and I have thought of it often raising my children. I wish that I took a little more time writing something like that, but I let the days get away, and I take those precious few hours in a week alone on other things. It's one of the reasons I started this website - to write whatever thoughts are in my head about raising my kids to share with them.

My daughter's name is Eliza Birdell and I often call her Ellie Bird. I'm not sure why my wife and I

chose Eliza to "shorten" to Ellie, but I guess we liked both names and it gives her a choice on down the line for what she wants to be called. I do remember when we decided. One of us said, Let's name her Eliza Birdell and call her Ellie Bird. Birdell was my grandmother's name and she was very special to me. Everyone in her community knew her as Birdie. I wanted a little girl because I had seen some of the special relationships friends of mine had with their girls, and I also wanted to give her the name because my grandmother meant so much to me, so when we saw the three little lines on the ultrasound I was excited. The technician asked me why I was happy to have a little girl, and my reply was, Who wouldn't be. She then told stories of men crying or being angry because they weren't having a son first.

Those men are fools. Don't get me wrong, my son is great and I look forward to so many things with him, and his presence in my life has made it complete. But a little girl, my little girl. She was my breakfast date in the early days when she woke up at four with the smile on her face that said she wasn't going back to sleep, so we'd head out to the only two places open at 4:30, IHOP or Denny's. She's the one who sweetly says, Da-da, when she comes to crawl into bed with me in the middle of the night. The one who holds tight to my arm as she falls back to sleep.

She's a princess who loves Barbies and Sofia the First. I never thought that would happen, but the Barbie thing can be blamed on my sister who bought Ellie her first Barbie doll when Sam was born. She's a comedian and a talker who continues to ask why about almost everything, and I'm proud that for the most part I haven't completely lost my mind over it. She wears Chuck Taylor's and cowgirl boots, and if you make the mistake of calling them cowboy boots she will correct you. She loves Hole and Laura Cantrell, Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah, Erykah Badu and Norah Jones. If you notice those are all girls, so girl power is a real thing around our house. I see and hear her fall into gender norms sometimes. I want her to love and admire strong women and to feel and be limitless in who and what she can be. It's a fight I think to get there, but I won't stop and I know she won't either. I'm so proud of my wife who provides an example of a strong woman. I couldn't have been prouder to see them head out the day after the inauguration of Ewwww, Donald Truuuuuump as she says.

There has been a moment every day of her life that I have marveled at her beauty, her words, the things she knows, her innocence, or her kindness. She's still my sweet little lady, my Sweetles as I sometimes call her. In the last year she's grown and changed so much that she's no longer a toddler. She's a knobby-kneed little girl who takes ballet and tries to help me cook at night. She's a dream come true in every way, and I know these middle-of-the-night visits won't last much longer, and no matter how much I wish time would stop, or however much I try to revel in a moment, those moments are gone, and while there are many more to come I'm sure there will never be enough. There will be the day when she no longer runs to me when I come to pick her up from school, and I hope I don't sound sad. I just try to be very Buddhist about it and not be sad that a moment is gone. I really am just glad that these moments have happened because they have been the best moments of my life.

One day, if I do a good enough job, I will see her be that strong, powerful, limitless woman. And I will burst with pride the same way I do now when she adds 1 + 2, and I hope against hope that she will still be Daddy's little girl.

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