I was not ready for this girl when she arrived into this world thirty years ago today. I thought I was, but nothing that I had done in my twenty nine years, one month and eight days on this earth had adequately prepared me to be a parent. Nevertheless, there she was, this tiny marvel looking up at me, changing my life forever.
I was probably the worst expectant father in the history of St. Mary's hospital's maternity ward. I walked the equivalent of a half marathon in the rooms and hallways, pacing back and forth, asking stupid questions and generally making a nuisance of myself. Pam, on the other hand, was the very picture of grace and composure, despite being in periodically excruciating pain.
Back in 1987, very few people knew what the sex of their unborn child was before the fact. Both Pam and I had the feeling that Kaitlin Elizabeth Dunnevant was going to be a boy. So, when she arrived, pink and healthy, I was releaved and grateful, but for the first few hours of her life...disappointed. I had mentally prepared for and really wanted...a son. What an idiot I was. Thankfully, all of that disappointment melted away the very first time I held her in my arms.
This little girl was the single greatest thing that had ever happened to me. Being a parent changed me in profound ways, and I felt the changes immediately. I loved my parents. I love my siblings, and I am in love with my wife. But I had no idea how much love would find it's way into my heart for my child. It's a different kind of love, one born of care, protection, and responsibility. Pam and I had actually created this little person and brought her into this dangerous world. Now, we had a mission...to protect her, to bring her up right, to provide. Not long after bringing her home, I was rocking her to sleep one night when it occurred to me that I would storm the gates of hell for this child. Thirty years later, nothing has changed.
So, on this special day, I would like to wish my first born, my one and only daughter, the happiest birthday. She has exceeded every single expectation I ever had for her. She is beautiful, smarter than me, nicer, kinder, more compassionate than me. Her grammar is so much better than mine. She took all of the best parts from her mother and me and combined them in a bright new person. She makes me proud every day, not just on her birthday. But, on her birthday...she gets a blogpost.