Fireworks and Memories

She is sitting on my lap as we gaze into the night sky.  This may be the last year she will be willing to do that.  She’s growing up so fast and pretty soon snuggling with Daddy will be embarrassing rather than comforting.  She lays her head against my chest and I smile.  Above us, cascading explosions of light and color brighten the darkness.  I glance down at her wonder filled face.  She doesn’t notice me looking at her so I take a moment to drink in her innocent beauty.  She is my little girl, my grown up baby.  With every flash in the sky, pictures fill my mind of different times when I have looked at this precious face…

Flash…  I see her for the first time.  So impossibly tiny and fragile; still enveloped in the brightness of the place she just left…

Flash… Shiny, dark eyes stare up at me in the soft glow of a night light as I cradle her in my arms watching milk turn into trust and love…

Flash… “Smile” I say.  So she opens her mouth as wide as possible… she is still learning what that word means…

Flash… She staggers across the floor trying to make it from the couch to my waiting arms.  Her hands are raised high in the air, her eyes open wide with excitement…

Flash… She is lying in a hospital bed barely holding on to life while I make promises to God.  They push her bed into a room we cannot enter leaving us staring at a white door… I remember ever detail of that white door…

Flash… I hear her before I see her.  She is calling out to me in a timid, terrified voice until she hears my answering call.  Then her cry takes on a new level of emotion but this time it is laced with hope, not fear because she knows her Daddy will take care of everything.   I have her yellow blanky in hand as  I rush down the hall planning to scoop her into my arms and hug all the pain away.  But I cannot pick her up due to all the tubes and wires so I carefully lie down next to her whispering comfort and love.  She is alive and nothing else matters…

Flash… She is jumping on the trampoline naked.  Somehow she got out the back door after her bath.  I watch her for a moment with a smile on my face.  She is chubby and beautiful.  Her body weight has doubled in the last few months and I thank God again for every roll of fat on that precious little body…

Flash… I am dropping her off at pre-school.  She turns to me as I start to get out of the car to walk her in and says, “It’s okay Daddy, I can walk in by myself”.  A get a little teary-eyed as I realize, with pride in my heart, that she is growing in confidence…

Flash… Her face moves between looks of fear, determination and jubilation as she wobbles along without her training wheels for the first time.  Faster and faster she goes until, all at once, she realizes that she doesn’t know how to slow down and so she promptly crashes into our lawn…

Flash… On her face is a mischievous smile as she asks me if she can tell me a secret.  I acquiesce and she proceeds to burp in my ear…

Flash… I see her face in a thousand splendid moments.  They rush by as if I am fast-forwarding her life until all at once it stops.  And here she is, sitting in my lap, enjoying the colorful wonders of fire exploding in the sky. 

I realize in this moment just how fast these precious years with my daughter are going by.  My time with her is like a fireworks display; beautiful, colorful, vibrant, emotional, breathtaking… and over way too fast!

I recommit myself to being the daddy (all-to-soon dad) she needs me to be.  I promise to cherish every moment with her as if it were my last; to appreciate this time in my life, even though at times it can be frustrating and difficult.  I declare to myself and God that when she is grown up and on her own, I will not look back with regrets that I didn’t pay attention more, love more, listen more, share more… but instead I will be able to close my eyes and see the beautiful flashes of memories that we made together!

I am a father… and there is nothing more important in this life that I must suceed at than this!


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5 comments to Fireworks and Memories

  • (An email to my one and only daughter, Laura. Sent this date.)

    Hi #1 Girl,

    This story, Fireworks and Memories, was written by Jeff, one of the owners of the web site I like so much. He and his wife, Amy, have been through much of what we endured when you were eight months old and being treated at Children’s Hospital.

    Wow! His “Flash” descriptions are SO similar to what your Dad and I experienced in your early years, which are enough to bring tears of joy to our eyes. I was reading through my tears, mainly remembering the joys we experienced with you.

    The touching aspect of this story is, that Jeff looks to the future with his story, while we are living in the present, realizing our beautiful, sweet and loving daughter is now grown, married to a wonderful man you love, as you both continue to enjoy life to its fullest!

    http://inspirationalparenting.com/2009/07/07/fireworks-and-memories/

    Sent with all my love, always,

    Mama Bird

  • Taz Tagore

    It’s a pleasure to read about a father having such a beautiful, strong and profound connection to his child.

    Amazingly written, Jeff!

  • Thank you so much for the kind words!

  • Stefanie

    Love you Jeff. What beautiful moments. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • Barbara Gibson

    Jeff, that was inspirational! You have a wonderful way of writing about the most important thing we can ever accomplish – being a parent (and you sound like a great one). This was wonderful to read and you should keep writing!

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