She loves the bright sun and the way it feels on her skin. She adores the feel of the breeze on her face. She takes joy in slowly moving her hands through the sand. She breathes in the ocean air the same way I breathe in the smell of freshly-made chococlate chip cookies.
This isn't a story about regret or failure. I raise my voice because I do a lot as a parent, because there's a lot going on. We all have a lot going on. And kids don't listen all the time, nor should they be expected to.
I will educate my daughter as best as I can. I will raise her to be strong, to fight back, to be herself and be proud of who she is. I will raise her to realize how ignorant a 50-ish man with salt-and-pepper hair can be. Who's with me?
My 3-year-old daughter has recently started asking me if certain characters in books and cartoons are boys or girls. After answering her questions, I ask her: "Why is that important?" I'm asking you the same thing now.
I trust that my partner and I raised our daughter to surround herself with good people. She's picked you as one of those people and your role is one of the most important pieces of her life puzzle. To me, that puts you in some pretty exceptional company.
My dad always spoke in bumper sticker while I was growing up. Time-tested, Irish Catholic-saturated maxims. If you didn't collide with one of his sayings on your own, the universe would impel a situation so it could find you.
I thought horrible accidents weren't supposed to happen on beautiful weekend mornings. Certainly not when you're less than five feet away from your 6-year-old daughter, who's playing on a tree branch less than two feet off the ground.
There are girls who grow up to be just like their mothers; I hope I do, too. But I also hope, more than anything, that I turn into my father, too, the man who irritates me to no end, but who inspires me even more.
Dads. They're our first heroes. They keep us safe, tell us stories and give us our first piggyback rides. From our earliest moments, dads teach us to laugh, lighten up and toughen up. If we're fortunate, they also teach us about sacrifice and virtue -- a word that means "manly strength."
Curiosity is what drove me to learn more about the Little Free Library organization. And it's why my dad enjoyed the challenge of building the library. Curiosity is why we enjoy books, travels and stories from people we meet.
As a child of divorce, there were many years when I resented my dad for not being around enough, for not being a bigger part of my life and for putting me in the position to have to juggle between houses. But as an adult, I realized that he did the absolute best he could.
My father had a huge number of friends, many of whom he had known since high school. He served as the best man in no less than nine weddings. Yet like many comedians, my father's humor hid an inner sadness, part of which I now understand, part of which is still a mystery.
As a hormonal, hairier-than-most Greek girl in my early teens, I often referred to my dad as a "broken record." If I tried to tell MY teenager that, he wouldn't quite get the metaphor as he never had to weigh down his phonograph needle with a nickel.