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Born: December 24, 1976 12:09AM

My first born, a daughter, who from the instant of her birth had me wrapped around her very little finger. She was so small, yet I was the one who felt small. I had no concept of what her birth really meant, no clue as to what a father was or was suppose to be. I remember driving home after she was born and feeling so proud, so happy, so confused, and so utterly terrified. I was going to have to change so many things in my life, my very self-definition had just been radically and irrevocably changed. What was a father, my earliest definition was: provider and protector. I was to be this above all else for my family, but it really seemed to apply more to my baby. I guess because my ex and I were both working, I knew she would always be able to take care of herself. She was far stronger and much more capable than I was (still is). But that little baby, that perfect, beautiful, completely vulnerable little baby, needed a guardian, and that was me. When she started motoring around the house I was there to try to protect her if she fell, I was there to try to cushion her from any pain. I literally followed her around with a pillow, if she fell dad was going to be there to catch her and cushion the fall. That didn't last long, but the desire to protect her still exists today. I know I can't do that now, any more than I could when she was little.

I remember when she got Roseola, a viral illness that is common in children 6 to 24 months of age, she was running a fever and we couldn't seem to get it to break. We kept taking her temperature, and it kept going up. We called her doctor and asked what to do, because her temp was so high (around 105 degrees), and his simple answer was to quit taking her temp. He said that it would break on its own, and that babies can handle high temps with less risk than adulrs. What I remember most was the look in her eyes, she was too young to say anything but those eyes said it all, "HELP me daddy!" I felt so helpless, and so useless I couldn't make it go away. Some protector, it was a very long night and she was sick for a couple more days, but I had lost my first battle. At least that's how it felt, I realize that there is no way to avoid illnesses and pains, but I wanted to so badly. I really felt I had to, at least to try with everything I had.

I guess that's the hardest part of being a parent, seeing your kids heading for trouble, pain, and disappointment, and not being able to do anything about it. You know what they're headed for, but you have to let them make their own way and take their own falls. All we can do is let them know we care and we're there for them. Kinda sucks though. There is the good side too, thank goodness, to watch them grow and develope and succeed. It's the greatest feeling in the world when they achieve new skills and succeed at new challenges. Well that's enough about the ups and downs of parenting, this is suppose to be about Kelly.


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