I'd like to start this off with a little background; a basic summary of the last few years. This will probably be as much for me as for whoever is reading this, and I'm pretty curious to see what is about to be typed. So without further ado...
I've wanted to be a husband and father for about as long as I can remember. Even when I daydreamed as a kid about being a professional baseball player, or Zach Morris, or a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (I was always partial to Donatello), I always would have a segment in my daydream that revolved around my make-believe fam. You know, things like grilling, playing catch in the yard - doing "Dad" stuff.
Well here I am, all grown up and living out at least part of my daydreams. How cool is that? How many people get to say that? And now that I'm living this thing, I've gotta say:
It's better than I ever could have imagined.
I met, and somehow, without the use of force (unless you count wine as a weapon), convinced my beautiful wife (and lead contributor to this blog), to marry me. It took me two dates to realize that I could not possibly make it any further without her. We just flat hit it off, and she has been the best blessing I've ever received, hands down... Which leads to the 2nd best blessing, or, more accurately, #1A, Miss Harper Elle.
I remember when we found out we were having a girl, and it taking some time for me to wrap my head around it. I don't know this for a fact, but my guess is that most guys who are about to become Dads assume the baby is a boy until there is evidence to the contrary. Additionally, guys, by and large, all want to have a boy. Why? Well, I'm no psychologist, but my best guess is that in our heads, we see it as a ticket to keep being little boys ourselves. It could just be me, but what I was thinking about - before my "son" turned into a daughter - was all of the tree climbing, bike riding, racing, sports, and wrestling my new best buddy and I were going to be doing for the next 20 years.
That all changed in an instant when the doc performing the ultrasound nonchalantly pointed out the part of the fetus that was the vagina. "Oh." Followed shortly by "uh-oh."
All of a sudden, my idyllic picture of the sports and boy stuff vanished, and was replaced by memories that I was unaware I had retained. "Sure Mr. ___, their parents know we're going," and "We'll make sure to be home by midnight," and all of these memories of things I had done as a young lad, these incredible efforts to catch some "alone" time with my girlfriend; I swear, if Congress was serious about wanting to solve the most complex problems in our nation today,they'd grab a couple dozen 18 year old boys, and tell them they've got a trip to Cancun as soon as they figure it all out. Unchaperoned. Ugh. That word, which used to be so beautiful to me because it represented endless possibility, now turns my stomach, because it represents endless possibility. "Unchaperoned." "Harper." My, how the tables have turned. Now my hands are sweating.
By now, you should be able to grasp why I was having a little difficulty coming to terms with "daughter" vs. "son." Don't get me wrong, I was excited the entire time Jenny was pregnant, but also a little worried.
And then Harper was born on 9/15. And we got 3 glorious hours of sleep two nights later. Witnessing the birth of your child, like everyone says, is a life-changing experience. Watching Jennifer and Harper bond, and all of the emotions, and the closeness Jenny and I shared at the time, was overpowering. It was so strong that when I reflect on it now, I am unable to recapture even a fraction of the emotion; the result is that it feels like I'm remembering a movie. A damn good movie too, one that you see when your channel surfing and are compelled to stop flipping, even though you've seen it a thousand times. You know, something like Back to The Future or Shawshank Redemption.
If it had been a boy, we were thinking of naming him Marty McFly Peel.
Or Vince Young Mack Brown Peel, Jr.
At any rate, Harper Elle has stolen my heart. The first time she smiled at me, I felt a piece of it being taken, and when she laughed a couple of months later, I knew it was all over. When I come home now, and she sees me and turns that 1000 watt grin on, I melt. I have no idea how in the world I'll ever be able to say "no" to her.
I'm so blessed, so thankful for my lot in life, and so thankful for all of our friends and family. If you are reading this, thank you for being a part of our lives. You mean the world to us.
And Jenny - sorry I was late to bed last night, but I was typing this. You're the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I have no idea how you are able to hold everything together so gracefully. Thanks for continuing to put up with my shenanigans.