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Hi, Daddy. It’s me, Ronnie.

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Hi, Daddy. It’s me, Ronnie.

A friend of mine once remarked that daughters were God’s way of punishing action guys.

While I agree with that comment for the most part, I think that God’s intent was to reward us as well. You know, all the pleasures of being a “Daddy” along with some painful reminders that we were once the bastards that other daddies were trying to protect their daughters from.

The other day I was at the local high school football game cheering on the home team and watching my 15 year-old daughter, Veronica, performing with six other cheerleaders. Full of school spirit and enthusiasm and more than a little chill (it was the coldest day of the year so far), she seemed perfectly at ease in front of the crowd.

AHS Cheerleader Squad. Ronnie 2nd from left

AHS Cheerleader Squad. Ronnie 2nd from left

Watching this and seeing this beautiful young woman who seemingly just a few months ago was celebrating her fifth birthday, I was hit with the realization that life moves forward much too quickly. A flood of memories of silly little moments came to me making me realize how much I wish life could move so much slower.

Little things like the first time she splashed her little boots through a puddle after a rain shower in Abu Dhabi when she was two. Or when napping on the couch I would be awakened by a little finger poking me in the eye, “Daddy, wake up!” Or when she was first learning to string words together in a sentence, she would sometimes jumble them a little, like when one day driving past KFC she points and says, “Kentucky F&%*in’ Chicken!”

A birthday (4th) celebration at Nene Park (United Kingdom) with Thomas the Tank, snow angels and her first snowball fight in Garmisch, Germany, her “evil army” of Beanie Babies and her First Communion.

Now in her teens, I must contend with the fact that my little girl is growing up. High school, mean girls, boyfriends and suitors create new worries. The horrifying experience that she endured when I had to have a little chat with what I deemed to be an unsuitable suitor was to me a sign of things yet to come.

Then there is technology.

iPhone, computer, Facebook, Skype, MS Messenger, and all the other always connected, instant feedback, impersonal communications and mass exposure scare the living hell out of me. Besides the enormous amount of pressure based on what every other connected teen sees, does, thinks and says to or about each other, there is the constant distraction from real-world things like schoolwork, chores, family obligations, etc.

I’ve seen her being bullied and wooed, texted and sexted (yeah, I took care of that…). I’ve seen her grades drop and her attention span wane. I’ve seen (and felt) her mother’s frustration and angst with it all. I’ve learned that technology deprivation is a useful parenting tool.

I’ve learned that being a teenager today can be more challenging than when I was a teen. I’ve also learned that, for the most part, it’s not that much different, either.

And through it all, her indomitable spirit even in adverse circumstances and her ever ready and easy smile have always shown me the meaning of blessed.

I know that college is just around the corner. And perhaps marriage and a family of her own. Then it will be her turn in the barrel.

And it will all happen much too soon.

But for now, I just hear the little voice leaving the messages I used to get on my cell phone when she was about six or seven that always began with, “Hi, Daddy. It’s me, Ronnie…”

So, hug your kids and remember, “Life is a Sandwich. Eat it up!”

Mike


  1. Amen Big Brother!!

    I have watched and endured all that you have written here!!

    Marc

  2. Mike,

    Really enjoyed your thoughts about raising a daughter, in fact I forwarded your website address to most of my family to read. Thank you for posting such a well written and thoughtful article.

    All the best,

    Mike

  3. daddy, im up in my room right now and i just read this and im crying because im so happy that you are my dad and that you wrote this for me and to remember all of those memories (:
    love,
    ronnie <3

  4. Seriously says:

    Thanks for that outstanding post. I honestly like the web-site and thought that I’d tell you! 😀 Hi and thanks, Seriously

  5. Big smile an “Like” on Ronnie’s comment!

  6. I just read this and thinks it is absolutely beautiful. You have a gift for writing!

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