I have this daughter. She is beautiful, vivacious, athletic and studious. Everything a father could ask for. Yesterday, she turned sixteen years old.
She left this morning on her bike, dressed in professional clothing, and headed off to work for a local accountant. She came back in the afternoon and dived back into her school work, fed the animals, looked after her little brother and found time to sit and read before supper.
Last night I watched her hiding behind broken buildings shooting at her friends in a lively game of paintball. She was comfortable talking with all those around her and took the guys head on as she competed with them on the shooting field. Once a week, she slips on these barefoot runner things and jogs around town. On the weekend she hikes the hills barefoot and on Sunday I see her sitting, veiled at Holy Mass awaiting the reception of Our Lord.
How have I come to be so blessed with such a girl?
Some may say she’s a gift of God and sometimes God just does that. Others suggest that she’s a great girl because she has great parents. (I like this conclusion the best J). And others would suggest that she is simply a product of making the right decisions at the right time.
I’m not sure what to think. Perhaps it is a combination of all three.
My daughter is taking courses at a local college where I work. I stepped out of my office the other day and she was standing with the first year students talking in the sun, a big smile on her face and … she was gorgeous. The prettiest one around in my unbiased opinion.
One of these days I know I’ll have to give her hand over to some young guy who woos her heart. Honestly, I’m not looking forward to that day. I like having her around. I like making her laugh. I like going on adventures with her and teaching her how to drive. I like watching her grow and mature and succeed.
I remember her as a little girl – she hiked up her first mountain in Alberta at two years old. We would take her to the lake at sunset and she would dance and spin around on the beach. When she turned ten, her and I took a trip to Paris to explore the best things. We had a list of the best ice cream shops, the best creperies, the best Parisian food, the best candy stores and so forth. We traversed the ancient city until she was exhausted and we finally collapsed and together watched the fireworks exploding around the Eiffel Tower. We prayed together at the mass grave of the Carmelite Martyrs and asked them to intercede on her behalf as she entered her youth.
We have a lot of memories together. We went on a lot of adventures together.
I’m hoping that just because she grows up it doesn’t mean that our adventures will stop. Someday another man, much younger than I, will have to take her on adventures. I will definitely miss her.
I find solace in what she told me one day after some interactions with some of the boys in her life. She said, “Dad, when I get married, I’m going to marry someone like you.”
Man, I love that girl.