Two years ago today, around 5:30 in the morning, my daughter showed up. At that moment, I held 8-and-a-half pounds of awesome in my hands and knew that nothing would ever be the same again. Lots of parents say this, but life has a way of blocking out how it used to be. Because it - life - changes so much, it has a way of helping you to forget how things were. This is good and makes the present much easier to be in. By taking away the detailed memory, you're unable to truly long for it, meaning your heart can invest fully with each beat in what is now. My wife and I were married for six years before our daughter was born. In that time, we never spoke of poop. Not once. Since I became a parent, we have talked about it at least once a day. I'm sure this will change when our daughter is out of diapers, but once you start discussing your child's bowels with one another, it's hard to stop, especially since regularity is an important part of parenting.
A night in is just as good as a night out. In fact, coming home from work and changing into fleece pants and a T-shirt so you can do puzzles, color, and count things on the floor can be as invigorating and tiring as drinking all night.
There is nothing like hearing someone call you dad for the first time. Or every time she sees you.
Your mind will amaze and scare you thinking about what you'd do for your child.
Parenting gets easier and harder at the same time. I don't know of any other role that offers this. Mastering one challenge or skill gives you the confidence to face the next one, which you'll fail at miserably. So miserably, in fact, that you'll hope no one at DCS finds out because they'll come take your kid from you.
If your child is two, happy, and loved, then you're doing everything right.
The biggest reason you have to embrace the now - other than that you can't really remember the past fully - is because it will be gone. Her crying for milk, her impatience at waiting for the DVD to load, her waking up in the middle of the night in need of a pacifier, her struggle to put together words so you understand what she needs, her making a mess of every meal, her need to have what she wants when she wants it - this will all be replaced one day with a daughter who acts like she doesn't need you, who wants you gone when her friends show up, and who will pretend like you're not important.
So I will take today's struggles. They are laced with moments of pride, love, happiness, and joy. And I will fight hard to remember those parts lest the present dare me to forget them so that one day - in another present - I will be able to hold the best of the past and all the hope for the future together, knowing that they, too, manifest themselves in her. My love for who she was, who she is, and who she shall become is greater than any of today's challenges and is what will always make me her dad.