|Not my daughter
When I heard that you would come into being, that I'd be a "girl" dad, I needed a moment.
A few years ago, we had a son, your brother.
His story is little like this: When your mom first came into my office to tell me she was pregnant, I thought maybe she wasn't feeling well or a little hungover, but NOPE, she was pregnant with your brother.
At the time we were nervous, anxious, and excited, but overall thought we were prepared.
Little did we know.
But with you, this time was different.
We had planned to grow the family a few years before, but we went back and forth about when would be the best time and then the Pandemic happened.
At first, there was shock.
We went from being consumed by whatever was trending on social media, or reality TV, or sporting news to all of a sudden being completely shut down as a society.
Streets became empty.
Freeways barren of cars and subways without the people in them.
|An empty subway was a weird time
It was an odd experience of confusion, shock, and fear.
Then, the confusion ultimately led to boredom.
People had too much time on their hands.
They sat around at home, in their apartment, many unable or unwilling to go outside.
Others were more than happy to go outside.
Some went to agitate for change in the social hierarchy, racial equality, or justice.
Others went just to agitate.
And the messaging from the government and authorities was off-kilter and sometimes contradictory.
We were told one day to wipe down everything that came into our house, including groceries, mail, whatever.
Then we were told, no big deal.
Just wash your hands.
Oh, and don't forget to wear a mask.
But wait, don't let fear drive and control you we were told.
It was, as they say, a shit-show.
So, did we, as a global community, overreact?
I'm not smart enough to know, but what I witnessed wasn't pretty.
People lost their minds; they lost the compassion and empathy that makes a cohesive society function.
Instead of embracing each other and valuing expert opinions, people used their idle time to troll each other only, to castigate the experts, and to diminish their knowledge.
The narcissist and the deluded shouted down anyone that disagreed. It was the gaslighting of America and the world.
In other words, it was weird.
But like all things, our limited attention spans chased the next squirrel and the next social trend and we kind of forgot about what had pissed us off just a day or two earlier.
Again, it was a weird time and odd experience for everyone at the time.
After the fog of it all lifted, we decided to try again. And we were (obviously) successful.
Along Came YOU
So when your mom came into the room and told me she was pregnant again, I was a little skeptical.
Shows you how much I know.
When she told me she was pregnant, I was flooded with a lot of doubt and fear that I didn't experience with your brother.
I began to ask myself, "What did I know about raising a child, much less two, and the youngest being a girl?"
I still can't answer that question well; you've been around for months.
An eternity to you and 100 days or so for me and your mom.
|Not my baby
We often find ourselves struggling, like when you're out in the waves, and another one crashes around you, all the while you're rushing to grab a quick breath before you're thrown around under another wave.
Your focus is on the here and now, trying to come up for air, knowing that a quick gulp of air is the only luxury you're going to have, with little foresight or ability to keep an eye on the horizon and see what other waves are building.
Because they're always building.
But this will pass.
As you grow and mature, and we can get sleep, you'll continue to amaze us in wholly surprising and yet predictable ways.
You'll continue to grow, develop your personality, and define your role in the world around you.
And there are a few things that I'd like to note at this point of your life as you develop.
Some Simple Points To Think About As You Live Your Life
For one, at this point of life, you look at the world observantly and slightly skeptical.
Keep those skills in your life, they'll guide you well.
Listen to your inner voice, trust your instincts, and don't let others define who you become or why.
Another thing to always remember is that your smile radiates the room.
It can change the perception of how people act and behave around you.
It's a power you have now and one that you will have later in life if you stay true to yourself.
This is just another way of saying don't let others dictate who you are, what you do, and why you do them.
Another thing is have the courage to choose your own path, even in the face of all the stuff that you will face.
I can only imagine the pressures you'll face as a young girl and woman.
You'll have to stand up to a lot of different forces that want to marginalize and minimize who you are simply by being born female.
Dammit, don't let them do that to you or anyone else.
Stand up for what's right, don't take the easy, popular choice or action.
But those words of advice are also not your responsibility.
Your only responsibility is to just be who you are, define what you want, and stand tall with that decision.
That's being true to yourself and authentic in ways that most people wish they could.
Look, it's impossible for me to predict what will be in our future.
Like in every society throughout history, there's a fear and there's an optimism of what is next.
We live in an interesting time; we have access to the most amount of information at a fingertip than at any other time in human history, but it also seems most people want to keep their heads down and remain ignorant.
Or to discredit those with unique knowledge and experience because of an opinion or contradictory thought.
It's a form of social insanity, but such are the times we live.
It's like a new dark ages--where science and knowledge are replaced by opinion. But it is what it is.
One thing I do know is that no matter what happens, I love you, your brother, and your mom more than I ever imagined I'd love anyone.
Here's The Life Advice I Promised-You Only Have To Accept What You Want
There are a few things I'd like to impart to you, and they're simple.
Be sweet, be sincere, and be strong.
Be sweet to those who love you and those you love.
You're named after two extremely special people to both your mom and dad.
Your first name is after your uncle, who died from a stroke during the pandemic.
Your middle name is after your grandmother, your mom's mom, who died when your mom was young -- (MorMor in Swedish).
The point here is don't take for granted that your loved ones will be there when you expect them to.
That may seem morbid or cynical, but always be sure to let those you love know it.
Every time I leave the house or your mom leaves, we'll tell you all we love you, just in case.
|Nope-not our family haha
Be sincere in what you do.
Be your authentic self, whoever that may be--you're still an infant and developing your personality, likes, and dislikes, so once you discover your "voice," shout it to the rooftops.
Or don't if you end up shy. Both are ok.
Just be you.
Finally, be strong.
The world throws a lot at young girls and women.
Don't take their shit.
Stand up for what's right, swim upstream if it's the right thing to do, and stand out from the crowd by believing in yourself and what is important to you.
People and the world will try to dictate to you what is acceptable, what is expected, and what is allowed by you as a female, but don't let them.
Of course, me telling you to be strong is easy to do.
I was never a teenage girl, but I helped coach a few, so I've had some first-hand opportunities to witness the pressure society and peers put those ladies' under.
There's a lot to look forward to, a lot to discover.
Go into life with your eyes and your heart open, your mind curious, and your soul listening.
Invest in yourself.
Don't let someone else detract or depreciate what you know to be your worth.
You have but one life to live, so live it on your terms.
It's the little steps you take that make the journey, so focus on keeping your eyes on the horizon and your feet upon the ground.