Over the past 364 days, I’ve had the pleasure of watching two amazing things happen. I’ve watched our youngest daughter arrive into this world and grow into a pretty amazing, redheaded, babbling hellion whom I love dearly. I’ve also watched my four-year-old, whom I was already somewhat fond of, double in stature. Now, as I get ready to celebrate a game-changing year in our family, I want to share what I was lucky enough to learn.
Time Alone (The Tale Of The Little One)
Time is an amazing thing. Even if you aren’t (or don’t believe you are) capable of trying very hard, it can and will change you. It does so at a fairly alarming rate when you’re a little one. That speed might slow down as we get older, but like it or not, change happens. We grow in spite of ourselves. My baby girl fought plenty of things this year. She fought changing, she fought her parents, she fought teeth, she fought sleep. She’s a hell of a fighter. She’s also a hell of a lot tougher (and notably, yet unfathomably more adorable) than when she made her grand entrance a year ago tomorrow.
Time And Circumstance (TheTale Of The Bigger One)
My older daughter had more than just time on her hands; circumstance played a major part in this past year. The way that she embraced being a sister did more than make her mother and father proud. It changed her in a way that will stick with her through her life. A year ago today, she was just a kid. A year ago tomorrow she became a sister and that experience profoundly changed her. Was there jealousy? Uh huh. Were there rough days? You bet. But, my daughter took her little sister on as a responsibility and she did so without ever having to be told or asked. She saw that little bundle of attention-sucking joy and embraced her wholeheartedly. She will always be a better and bigger person because of that choice. She did more than age a year, she unfolded.
Find The Things That Make You Unfold
While you can’t always have a little sister, you can find and embrace the things in your life that make you unfold, the experiences and choices that cause you to suddenly grow to twice your current size. I can’t imagine what a wrecking ball a newborn must be to the world of a four-year-old who loves attention nearly as much as her old man. I also can’t remember moment where I didn’t feel as if she leaned into being a big sister will all the gusto in her heart.
I’m Sure This Is Proud Papa Syndrome, but…
Many of you will probably write this off as a gushing father, and I’m sure that’s true, but take a minute to learn from my kid. She’s a lot better than her father at leaning into scary-ass circumstances and coming out all the better for it (just ask my younger brother, he’ll vouch for my shortcomings here). She could have made our lives (and hers for that matter) hell; instead she made hers (and her sister’s for that matter) better. There’s a lot to be learned in that one simple choice.
Enough With The Kids, Let’s Talk About You…
As for you, you can wait for your parents to have another kid (or your wife to have one for that matter), you can wait for life to throw a curve, but at a certain point, you’re going to want to go looking. You can’t just wait for circumstance to come your way, you have to seek out the things that make your life bigger. You have to find the things that make you unfold. And when you find them, you might just have to act like a four-year-old and lean in with your whole heart.
I’m off to celebrate two of the best teachers the world has ever offered me. Thanks for indulging a proud papa as I continue to share what they help me learn. In the meantime, while I’m eating cake, why don’t you tell me the last thing you did that made you unfold?
Happy Early Birthday, Emily!