The big day has finally arrived. Exactly one year ago today, Allison Ruah graced the world with her presence. I think back to that day with very fond memories...
Much like today, it was very warm. I think we almost set a record - somewhere in the mid-80's. Even though I was in shorts and a T-shirt that day, it felt like Christmas. Well, it felt like Christmas from my childhood - you know, back when you really had no idea what you were getting? That's how it felt when Alli was born - we both knew it was coming, but we didn't know the specifics of the "gift", if you will. And about 10 hours after we checked into the hospital, our bouncing baby girl was born - 7lbs. 2 oz., 20 inches long, with almost a full head of light brown hair. Wait... what?? The offspring of two bald-when-they-were-born babies has a full head of hair? Darn right, she did. Fast forward 365 days, and it's all been replaced by a full head of blond hair eerily similar to Dad-E's when he was that age.
Some Followers might recall this post that lists 50 Rules for Dads of Daughters. Some time today, I plan on writing Alli a letter to tell her about her first year of life. I'm not going to post it here because I want it to be personal for her when she reads it some day. I'm hoping to do this every year on her birthday until she goes off on her own. Might make a nice gift for her when she goes off to college or becomes a mom herself.
I'm sure many people are going to ask me what this first year of parenthood was like. The best analogy I can think of is riding a roller coaster for the first time. Here's why...
Like any good roller coaster, you start out by waiting. And waiting... and waiting. Lots of waiting. There are all these other people around waiting too, so you assume that it must be a good ride. You meet people while waiting that have already gone through it once or twice, so there must be something that keeps them coming back again. You can't really see what's ahead of you, but you've heard stories waiting in line about what's to come - some good, some bad.
Finally, it's your turn. You get on... and the anticipation starts building. Up you go, and you can't help but be excited for what's about to happen. And before you know it, your thrown in more directions than your body can handle. Up, down, left, right, up again, down again. Then a loop, then a corkscrew. Up again, down again. Another loop, another corkscrew. You go through so many emotions in such a short period of time, you're not really sure how you should feel. All the while, there is screaming, laughing and maybe some crying by those who can't handle the ride. The whole time you're trying to contain your jubilation and your tears... and just pray you don't get thrown up on.
Finally, the ride slows down and you settle into a groove. There are still some small hills - up again and down again - but nothing compared to what you went through at the beginning. You get off the ride, look at your significant other and say, "Damn... even though I was scared sh*tless, that was pretty fun. Let's do it again!" Others turn to each other and say, "No way, never again." As you walk away, you're still feeling so many emotions that you're not sure what just happened. It all happened so fast that all you can hope is that you got some good pictures along the way.
The next time you ride might not be quite as exciting as the first, but that's when you remember that this roller coaster changes each time you ride. So the decision then becomes: do you get in line to ride again? I say yes... but maybe in a little while after my stomach settles.
Happy birthday, Alli. Your daddy loves you more than you'll ever know... or at least until you have a child of your own.