And she’s the best thing to ever happen to me.
At 4:29 in the morning three years ago, my wife Angel brought our daughter Aaliyah into this world. And due to some unforeseen circumstances, I was the first one of us to hold her. I stood in that hospital room holding this life that weighed hardly anything, as Brandi looked on. I was wearing my favorite CM Punk shirt of course but that almost goes without saying.
I was terrified. I had been terrified the entire time Angel had been pregnant. People would say, “You’ve always been great with kids!” But this was different. I’m responsible for this one. She’s depending on us to help her grow into adulthood. I barely resemble an adult once I start talking, how was I going to take care of a baby?
I wake up now and I’m still terrified. Not of my parenting skills but now I worry about Aaliyah when she’s in daycare. Are they treating her well? Did she take a nap? Is she being nice to her classmates? Is she really old enough to be wiping all by herself at school? I see other children at work and I immediately miss my kid. But just this morning, Aaliyah and I were squaring off about her finishing her banana so I could do her hair so I could brush her teeth so she could use the potty so we could get out the door before 8 am. I had to threaten to leave her Moana soundtrack on the counter to sway the balance in my favor.
That damn Moana soundtrack. Great movie, great soundtrack. But what did my now 3 year old want to listen to in my car on the way to daycare? Moana. Since I got that car in October, we’ve listened to Sesame Street Platinum All-Time Favorites every single morning I took her to daycare. This morning she switches up on me. I was honestly sad; she yelled at me not to be upset. I got over it.
Aaliyah is the best part of my day. Even when I’m in the foulest of moods, she manages to turn it around. And yeah, children have that affect but mine is special and better than yours. But seriously, in the time she’s been in this world, I couldn’t ask for anything more. Because I think she’s so great, it makes me hesitate on whether Aaliyah needs a sibling. What if I don’t like the second kid as much? What if Aaliyah thinks I’ve replaced her and resents me until I die for it? What if I think two kids would be too much for me? And how in the hell will I show a boy how to be a man? Me? I can barely hammer.
I have been trying to get healthier for Aaliyah. I want to be here for as long as I can so I’m trying to make changes to all the terrible things I’ve done to my body the last 14 years. I can’t leave her too soon. I just won’t allow it. We plan on taking her out for dinner this evening and she’s super happy for today because this is the first time she truly understands her birthday. Then it’ll be time for one last birthday gift (her party was last weekend) and the normal nighttime routine. At some point she’ll ask, “Is me off tomorrow?” And we’ll correct her to say, “Am I off tomorrow?” To which we’ll reply no.
This morning I told her that after today and tomorrow it would be Saturday. “And then I can be home with mommy and daddy.”
Yes, honey. You’ll be home with us. Where you belong.
When she’s trying to sneak out of the house in her teenage years, remind me to read this to remember the good times I shared with my daughter.
I love you Aaliyah. Happy birthday cupcake.