I remember vividly the moment she was born. She was crying and the nurse told me to talk to her. I did and she immediately stopped. It was the strangest thing, as if she had been scared and knew my voice and it calmed her. I remember a couple of days later trying to put the carseat in the car and putting it in backwards. I thought "Are they really going to let us take this baby home? We have no idea what we're getting into." Thirteen years later and think we've done a pretty good job. Kayla has brought immeasurable meaning and joy into our lives. She is turning into quite the young woman. In many ways she's a typical first born, very much like her father. I often wonder if it's genetic, if it's learned or some combination of the two. I'm guessing that when she grows up she'll say we were overprotective (guilty as charged). But, she's spreading her wings more and more. Going to high school football games, dances, texting her friends, overnights away from us. I still get nervous when she's away from us. But, I know we have to let her go someday. Might as well start getting used to it. Kayla wants to go to high school next year. It'll be strange and lonely not having her in house with us.
We wanted to make Kayla's 13th a birthday she'd remember. She had friends over for pizza, then went to Laser Tag from 9-midnight (her mother is a trooper). I bought her a pair of earrings and a necklace that I hope she'll have for a very long time. Not little girl jewelry anymore. I reminisced about the days of birthday hats and ice cream and cake with the family. The days when I was a part of the celebration. Now, I'm rapidly becoming the embarrassing old man and I pretty much just try to stay out of the way and let the kids have their fun. The girls wanted to watch a movie when they returned from Laser Tag. Like the overprotective parents we are, we ruled out the first two choices. But, they ended up staying up until 3 in the morning watching a movie while we slept upstairs. Boy, how things have changed.
The last few nights I've had dreams of Kayla as a little girl. Wishful thinking I guess. As we get older, time accelerates. I won't use the old cliche of it doesn't seem like 13 years since she joined us. Of course it does. 13 years is 13 years. But, 13 years when you're 13 is an eternity. 13 years when you're 48 is just a short time. It's been a short time. Children force you to mark the passage of time in a way you don't have to acknowledge before you have them. They remind you that you're getting older because you see them change right before your eyes. They announce that they're now in their "double digits" or that soon they'll be a teenager. They tell you they're saving up to buy a car (when they're 12). They look at you incredulously when you tell them you didn't have DVDs growing up. "Did you have electricity Dad?" It's hard to believe that we have less than half the time we've had with Kayla before she's leaving the house to strike out on her own. 13 reminds you that 18 is just around the corner. I'll miss Kayla when she's gone. I already miss the little girl I once had. But, in the meanwhile, I plan to relish every possible moment I can with her between now and then.