I’ve been meaning to write this all day today, but I’m just now finding the time.
So yesterday was a big day for my little girl. We had her eyes checked a few months back and the doctor recommended that she might need glasses. We gave it some time, went back in for another exam, and sure enough, she needed them. I guess she takes after her old man. I had to get glasses when I was in elementary school. Anyway, she picked out a pair she liked — pink frames, small lenses, very chic. It’s funny how the girl has had this sense of fashion and style that’s just innate. Yet another quirky little way the Lord designed her.
We also have been keeping an eye (no pun intended) on one of Abby Kate’s lower front teeth. It’s been kinda wiggly for a couple of weeks and over the past few days, it seemed like it was ready to come out. Sunny and I are both kinda grossed out by the whole “tooth pulling” thing, so we just sat back and waited for nature to take its course. My suggestion was to let her eat corn on the cob every night until the thing fell out. Well, last night in Bible class, my firstborn decided to take matters into her own hands by pulling the tooth out herself. You gotta admit: the girl’s got gumption. How many five year olds do YOU know who pull their own teeth?
Tonight at the dinner table, I just looked at her — new glasses, new gap in her teeth — and I had one of those Dad moments when you realize you’ve just entered a new phase. Like when they start to walk, or talk, or when we potty trained Jackson and I realized that we were officially out of the diaper phase with our children. It’s not an altogether sad thing; in fact, I’d say that all of these things are great. It’s really a joy to watch my kids grow and enter new phases of life and face the challenges that are a part of each phase in their own unique way. But as I sat there looking at my daughter, growing up right in front of my eyes, the moment I had was the moment that is common to every parent I know. I wished I could just bottle this moment up and savor it. I wished that I could pull out this moment a few years from now when we’re arguing with her about when she can get her ears pierced. Or a few years later when some punk boyfriend dumps her and breaks her heart. Or when I take her to the church parking lot and teach her how to drive. And I’m sure when those moments arrive, I’ll want to be able to bottle them up so I can pull them out and savor them again when she’s left home and gone to college or when she’s married and has children of her own. I sat here at my dinner table and I realized that I was having one of those moments that I’ll never forget as long as I live.
So tonight, I write down these thoughts as a means of fulfilling that wish. Hopefully this blog can help remind me — years from now — about the way I feel in this moment. If that’s the case, then this whole self-absorbed practice of blogging will at least serve some kind of productive function in my life. And Abby Kate, if you happen to read this someday, I would want you to know that I am incredibly proud of you. I’ll never forget the way you sparkled all day today, showing off your new specs, showing off the new hole in your smile. You’ve lost your first baby tooth and with it come the firstfruits of something new; a new tooth to replace the old one, but even more the new person you’re becoming every day. Yeah, that’s a bit sentimental — it’s just a tooth, for goodness’ sake! — but then again, if I can’t be sentimental when it comes to you — my ONLY daughter — then I doubt I can be sentimental about much of anything. I’ll admit: I’m not sure I’m ready for this, all this growing up that you have to do. I’d really like it if you could just stay my little girl like this forever. But I also know this is good and normal and right and I’m just glad God has given you to me. It’s the supreme joy of my life to be your Daddy.
And P.S. — Please don’t begrudge the Tooth Fairy for being stingy. I know other kids get a lot more than the .25 cents you got for that first tooth, but I figure there are about 60 more teeth that will need to be pulled and redeemed at the Bybee household over the next few years. And contrary to popular belief, the Tooth Fairy does not operate with an unlimited stream of revenue.