When a 55-year old man finds himself quoting Chance the Rapper you know something amazing has happened in his life.
Which is what happened to me this day 16 years ago when my world changed with the birth of my Daughter, Margaret Elizabeth, more often known as Maisie.
“I didn’t know love until I had my Daughter. I didn’t know its bounds.”
Today, Maisie is 16.
And, I am still learning that love has no bounds when it comes to how much I love my brown-eyed, brown-haired young woman who never fails to capture my heart.
She came into the world covered in hair from head to toe.
Yet, underneath it the fire that is in her eyes came shining through.
They were piercing.
She would set them on a person and you could feel their presence.
Once she found you with them she would not let you go until you connected with her.
And, then, and without warning, she would smile.
Your life, like mine, would never be the same.
Because when Maisie smiles, the world around her smiles.
My Daughter is remarkable. She is smart, clever, kind and compassionate.
She is ferocious in her loyalty.
Her beliefs. Who she is. The values she holds dear.
Sixteen years since she joined us in the world I still marvel at the gift God gave me with a Daughter.
Her arrival snuck up on me in the sense that I could not fathom I would have a child that was a girl.
So much so that when the Doctor told me she was a girl I was stupefied.
It never really occurred to me that I would be the Dad of a Daughter.
Then, once understanding the words, “You have a Daughter.” I have spent the past 16 years learning something new about her every single day.
I have enjoyed every stage of life and development of Maisie.
The holding of her tiny furnace of a body.
The dancing with her in the kitchen until she would fall asleep. Her sweaty head nestled on my neck and her thick, brown hair sprawled all over her face.
Her first days of school. The friends she would make through the years. The sadness and pain of those who weren’t friendly to her.
The moments I spent sharing stories with her about when I was a young boy in a small town to get her to fall asleep.
The mornings I crept in to wake her for the day and snuggled in until we had to get up and go on with life in the world outside our home.
Then, one day, almost as though I hadn’t been paying attention, she grew up into a young woman.
Her chosen passion in life is passion.
About nearly everything.
From the robotics team, Robettes, to theater, to music, to her love for her dog, Sailor, Maisie brings passion to her very existence.
The beliefs she has she shares with passion.
She will not be easily swayed from where she stands.
There is in her strength that comes from strong women in her life.
She does not need to be motivated by those who tell her what she cannot do.
She is motivated solely by whatever it is she chooses to do.
There is a world around Maisie that needs more of Maisie.
It needs her generous spirit. Her sense of justice and equity. The indisputable belief that every person has worth.
The day has long passed since my Daughter needed to hold my hand to find her way in the world.
I miss those days more than my heart can explain.
Yet, I am proud that she will go into the world as a person who is not only capable of changing it, but more importantly, as a person who will make it better.
There will come a day when the door to our home shuts behind Maisie and she will venture out in the world and find a new home.
I know it.
And, I know that when it happens a part of me will break.
The part that she took from me 16 years ago.
But it will be worth every single breath of every single day of my Daughter’s life.
I love you, Maisie.