I woke up at 4:50 this morning. That was the exact time 8 years ago when I was photographed holding my daughter Aaliyah for the first time. She had been born 11 minutes earlier.
It’s crazy to think how much she’s grown. Even in pictures from 2 years ago, she almost looks like an entirely different person. I don’t notice how much she grows because I’m fortunate enough to see her every day but to think she’s only 10 years from 18 is mind boggling. People always tell you to “enjoy your time with your kid” or that “it goes by fast” and you laugh it off as something people say to new parents. But I’d be lying if I didn’t know all of that to be true now.
Aaliyah’s developed into her own little person now. She has her own routine when she’s home, she’s picky about what she eats, and she usually goes to bed with no issues. She loves our dogs Evie and Marley (although she still misses Brooklyn and gets tired of throwing the ball for Evie), she enjoys building new Lego sets, and still wants to bounce on that trampoline we got her a few years ago. She loses her temper, cackles at the TV the way dad and I would, and is always singing one song or another. She even makes jokes now. Never did I think that my kid would not only be awesome but also funny.
She’s already a far superior athlete than I ever was. She takes school seriously which definitely comes from her mother. She likes to learn new things and experience new places. But at the same time, she likes to have me right outside the bathroom door when she brushes her teeth for bed. Angel and I take turns laying with her for a few minutes each night before she falls asleep. And every now and then, she’ll wake up in the middle of the night calling my name.
Usually to fix her sheet and comforter but it still counts.
I don’t know whether I’ve gotten better or worse at being her dad. With her being so independent, I’m not as attentive as I could be. I’ll wander off downstairs to the studio and she has to track me down because I left without saying anything. If she hurts herself, I don’t go rushing to her aid; I almost shrug her off because I ask if she’s okay and then tell her that if she hadn’t been doing what she was doing, she wouldn’t have hurt herself in the first place.
Like I said, top notch parenting.
I don’t know gymnastics; so when she tells me she’s been working on a new move or that she thought she did great on her floor routine, I can’t really picture it unless I see it. But I love watching her at her meets. I’m short with her when I shouldn’t be because I forget I’m talking to an 8-year-old and we fight over the littlest things. But I always make sure to apologize when I hurt her feelings or to check on her when she’s upset. I may not want her to cry when she hurts herself but I still hate for her to cry at all.
Even with my rough patches in parenting, she’s still the best thing to ever happen to me. I still love our time together even when I don’t feel like bouncing on the trampoline or still letting her ride me around the living room/kitchen like a horse. I’ll always concede the TV to her as long as she’s not attempting to watch Fuller House for a 5th(?) time. And I won’t let her go to bed without telling her “I love you 3000.” Yeah, I stole it. But it’s ours now.
I’ll still remind her that she forgot to turn the lights off in a room she was just in. And I’ll keep telling her not to make a mess with her clothes since mommy took the time to organize her closet so nicely.
Even though I know it won’t do any good.
But I don’t know how much longer she’ll still ask me to carry her from room to room. So, I’ll make sure to always do that.
Happy birthday Aaliyah. I love you cupcake