I finally remembered where this was written down and decided to post it here where I could find it. It was written by my Dad in 2009. I admired it so much and was going to have it framed, but he beat me to it. It hangs in my room above my dresser. Sometimes when I am getting ready for bed or getting ready for work, I re-read it and it makes me smile and say “aww” in an “I feel loved” sort of way. It is a piece I will always treasure.
The Little Girl . . .
. . . the first years and selected vignettes.
The Little Girl was a surprise. Not unwelcome, mind you. Never a fleeting thought of that.
Not that there wasn’t some concern. Daddy had finished his third year at university, and Mommy was working. With scholarships, Daddy’s summer job, Mommy’s work, and some student loans, they were getting by – but just barely.
The concern ended at the first heartbeat. But . . . PARENTS! How does one become a parent? Where’s the book? Where can one take a course? Is panic appropriate? We’re only kids ourselves.
Mommy and Daddy lived in a second-floor walk-up flat with hand-me-down furniture, no air-conditioning, and a bunch of critters that ran for cover in the kitchen when the lights were switched on.
This would not do. Not for The Little Girl. Daddy and Mommy cornered the landlady. Either evict the critters, or find new tenants. The critters were gone within a week. The Little Girl was not to learn “Bug on ME!” for a while. Then, Daddy made his first-ever credit purchase – a Sears window air conditioner, back when it was still Sears, Roebuck & Co.
The Little Girl made her appearance in mid-summer. Good timing that, because university was not in session and Daddy was able to continue summer work to save up for the fall semester. The Little Girl was born at 7:11 a.m. She was destined either to be very lucky – or to manage a convenience store. Daddy hoped for the former.
Vignette: In those days, fathers were not allowed in the delivery room, so Daddy waited. When the nurse told him it was a little girl, he rushed to the nursery. With his hands and nose pressed against the glass, he saw Her. Daddy cried. Of happiness, of course. First born. A Little Girl. THE Little Girl.
The Little Girl was a happy baby. Tow-headed, giggly, and with a smile that would melt a heart at forty paces. That fall, Daddy switched to mostly night classes so he could be with The Little Girl during the day, and Mommy could bring home something of a paycheck. Balancing the checkbook. Loans. Struggles. More than a few worries. But, with one wrinkly-nosed grin from The Little Girl . . . the worries didn’t matter. And, by the next summer, The Little Girl was zooming around like she owned the place.
Vignette: Mommy and Daddy took The Little Girl outside and set her in the middle of a blanket. To the little hand touching the grass it was barbed wire, and her world was an eight-foot square. She didn’t seem to mind. Neither did her blue bunny.
The Little Girl didn’t notice, but Mommy had a little surprise planned. In the fall, something called “A Little Brother” showed up. The Little Girl didn’t know what to think of A Little Brother, but within a year, she was The Big Sister, and proud of it. She still is.
Vignette: See Mommy carrying A Little Brother into the house, See Daddy carrying The Little Girl. See Daddy slip and fall in the mud in the front yard. See The Little Girl covered in mud with a puzzled look. See Daddy laugh. See The Little Girl laugh.
Two years later, Daddy graduated. He had a real job. Mommy and Daddy threw all their broken-down furniture over the balcony to be hauled off, packed up a couple of beds, a crib, a TV, The Little Girl and A Little Brother and moved. Omaha. Gateway to the west. Where The Little Girl still lives. With a Little Girl of her own.
Later, Mommy and Daddy moved. The Little Girl was older, and on her own. Then came summer and The Little Girl’s birthday. It was a Wednesday. Walking through the garage at work, it was the first time they were separated on her birthday. Daddy cried . . .
Little Girls make you do that, but you wouldn’t trade them for the world.