In my earlier, less wise days, I envisioned my future as a free-wheeling bachelor, probably shunting around the globe doing amazing work in international law.  That future didn’t really involve kids due to imagined logistics and a lack of desire.

Then I met a wonderful woman named “P.”  We had a somewhat turbulent courtship, but we made it through, and eventually tied the proverbial knot.  With my delusions of jet-setting safely dispelled by avoiding law school debt, we began building our life together.  We struggled to make ends meet (like many new couples), and tried to figure out what direction our lives should take.  After a few years, P really wanted kids, but I still didn’t mainly because I wasn’t ready and I wanted to “enjoy” our life alone before being “burdened” with parenthood.  Most of our friends had kids which pained P to watch while I cited our ability to pick up and move (which we did like 11 times) without being tied down.  We even made it over to Europe while our friends were “stuck” parenting.

After ten years, it became clear to me that given our lack of independent wealth status, we’d never be truly “financially ready” (whatever that meant in my over-active imagination), and we decided to move forward with the whole “trying” thing.  After some time, we had a baby girl, and our lives were irrevocably changed forever.  In a manner smacking of clichés, when she gripped my finger as a newborn, my heart melted.  The novelty of it all overwhelmed those 26 hours of labor and exhaustion.

The next few months had their ups and downs (shocker, right?), and the lack of sleep cut into my infamously short reservoir of patience.  But as I watched my baby V grow, I began to find joy in her development, antics, and innocence.

As she began to talk and express herself, I continued to be amazed at her accomplishments (like any proud parent), and fell even more in love with her.  Sure, there’s some sass (look at her folks for goodness sake), but she has a sweetness, love, and wonderment with life that I had lost many moons ago.  Now, seeing those things in her as she interacts with the world helps keep me grounded and reminds me of what a gift she is to us.

There are times when I feel the need to take a break because I’m incredibly frustrated or feel as though I’ve neglected the “me” part of myself for too long (which is probably inaccurate anyways).  But the times when I’m forced to leave her to go to “workadays” when I feel a poignant ache in my heart that still takes me by surprise.  While my job is incredibly flexible and pretty darn cushy, it’s still something I have to do 40 hours a week which means leaving my family.  It seems especially hard right now because V is not in school, so it’s time I could actually be spending with her.  And though I know I do my fair share, it nearly always feels to be not enough.

But then she wraps her arms around my neck and says “I love you daddy,” and I know I must be doing something right.

I can’t imagine my life without either of them now, which is a far cry (thankfully)  from where I envisioned my life.

I love you P and V!