I've had my battles with depression, particularly in high school and university. I've had more relationship ups and downs than I care to talk about. Most of us have. Still, there's no doubt that when I look back on my life, the friends I've made, the family I've kept, the places I've seen and the geeky things I've experienced would make 10-year-old Rich very proud. What I didn't expect was that my life would get a reboot halfway through.
Having a daughter has recharged my life in a way I couldn't have understood until it happened. Yes, I'm tired. Yes, doctor's appointments, worrying, soothing, changing, and pretty much every event we want to participate in takes more time. Yet, somehow, we get out more than we did before. My wife takes Ro on walks nearly every day. We're lucky to live in San Diego, with one of the best zoos in the world as well as excellent weather. Tomorrow we're going to Free Museum Tuesday at Balboa Park. Thursday we may take her to Mission Trails or Torrey Pines park. We could have been doing these things before we had Rowan, and we did from time to time, but now I want to do them more than ever before.
I'm obsessed with the lemonade stand I'm going to build for her; I'm already perfecting a recipe using the lemons from our new tree. I love snuggling up next to her and reading "We're In a Book"* and "Llama Llama Red Pajama". When she smiles and giggles I honestly don't know what to do with myself. Everywhere we go I get to describe the world and see it again in a way I haven't for years. As a writer, that's one of the most precious gifts someone can give and she can't even talk yet.
This morning I told her, "Thank you for coming and spending this life with us. We're so glad you're here." Yeah, I'm a hippy, no argument, but this is honestly how I feel. The rest of my life will have this person in it that didn't exist a year ago. I get to influence how she sees, feels and experiences life. When she thinks back, my wife and I will be the earliest things she remembers and she'll carry those memories, good or bad, with her into the world for the rest of her life. What an honor. What a privilege.
|Ro at the San Diego Zoo|
* = "We're in a Book?" by Mo Williams blew my mind. Give it a read. Twice, actually. It takes a subtle writer to put that much fun into such a simple presentation.