Today she turns four.
I have a long drive to and from work — an hour fifteen to an hour and a half, and I don’t get to spend as much quality time with my daughter as I’d like. Sure, we sit together in the car, but that’s not always the same. Whenever it’s just she and I, we’ll oftentimes make up silly songs on-the-spot, we’ll tell jokes, and I’ll ask her questions to continually try to find out what makes her tick.
She’s turning 4 today, and she just keeps growing up so fast. I’d love for her to be able to be open and know that she can talk to me about anything for as long as she’s willing to. The teenage years aren’t all that far away in the grand scheme of things, and I just want to cherish the precious few moments that we’ll have until she decides that I’m not as “cool” as I used to be. She’s smart, funny, beautiful — the perfect girl for me, if she wasn’t my daughter, of course. :) And, y’know, 4 years old.
On the weekends we’ll play, and make silly faces, and dance, and invent new words and songs, and she’s just a little ham. She’s the coolest kid I could ever ask for. There are so many things that I want to teach her, and so many things I want to do to get her a headstart in life. But some things you just can’t teach a kid until they’re ready to learn them, and I have to fight the urge to make her the kid that tests out of high school, and finishes college in 3 years, and just let her be a 4-year-old kid because that’s what she is.
Sometimes when she gets in trouble, I can be a little hard on her. And I hate having to punish her, but I know that if I’m a little tougher with her now, then I won’t NEED to be as tough with her as she gets older because she’ll (hopefully) be we well-behaved, respectable little firecracker. She’s very independent, and has a will as strong as mine. And I believe that God gave me a child like myself for two specific reasons (among many others, of course): (A) to teach me patience, grace, and love, and (B) because if she’d been born into any other family, Julianna would tear them up.
She’s got that strong will and that drive and it’s one of those things that gets her into a lot of trouble now, but if we teach her how to properly wield those character traits, she’ll be able to do great things with her life. Her independence will have a huge hand in the kind of leadership skills she develops (because she will most definitely be a leader). For all you LOST fans out there, I often times compare Julianna and her best friend Kylie, to Locke and Jack, respectively.
On LOST, Jack is the typical Type-A leader. People look to him for answers on what to do, and he tends to be the major decision-maker on the island. “Jack” is Kylie, Julianna’s best friend at pre-school. Julianna is more like Locke. Locke is also very much a leader. He can respect Jack’s decisions, but he’s more of a lone wolf. He goes his own way, and does his own thing. Whereas most of the survivors look to Jack as a leader, Locke sees Jack as an equal, and that really defines their dynamic.
Kylie will say “hey everybody, we’re going to play with the blocks today,” and all the other kids start playing with the blocks. Julianna says “I’m glad you all like playing with the blocks. Blocks are fun. But I’m going to go play with the balls. See ya.” I think that as she gets older, and Sarah and I have done our jobs, she’ll turn out like a Jack-Locke hybrid. Being the best possible father to my kids is my number 1 goal in life.
May the Lord give me the grace, strength, and wisdom I need to be able to accomplish this goal.