My daughter has made the darkness in my heart shine brighter than I ever could imagine. She gave me a reason to wake up each morning. I can't thank my Lord enough for blessing me with such a beautiful child.
When I was a teenager I worked on a show that was about a family. As with real families, my fictional family on "Life Goes On" had its ups and downs, and as part of the fictional downers, the actors were often called to cry on cue. This absolutely terrified me.
I can't be present for every decision she'll make, now or later, to offer advice for her to follow or ignore; she needs to develop her ability take stock of whatever situation and moment she's in and then make good choices.
Dachau's liberation story is not hypothetical to me. What this soldier saw when he opened the gates of Dachau was a sea of corpses, emaciated, tossed one atop the other in obscene piles. A few skeletons emerged alive, however, and one of them was my own father.
From the first time they placed my swaddled, newborn baby into my arms, until now, 28 years later, there was always something more I wanted to do for my daughter, something more I wanted to give her. Never did that list include breast cancer.
Walking around the streets of Disney, I found myself in an odd juxtaposition between intoxication with the sparkles, jewels and tiaras on the one hand, and disbelief that I was an active participant in what I had so proudly balked at in my former life. My former life being my life before children.
Tomorrow you leave for overnight camp, the first time you will be away from home for more than a night and/or not under the supervision of a loving Jewish grandparent. I wanted to give you some fatherly advice as you head out for what I'm sure will be the most fun you've ever had.
I need to remind myself that we are neither making nor breaking her with each parenting decision we make. And that sometimes, she is less fragile than I give her credit for and stronger than I ever thought.
I sometimes forget that this innocent little girl who tries my patience (often, but certainly not always) is going to eventually grow into a woman. I forget how important it is for her to love her dad.
I took Nora to the Stand With Texas Women rally on the capital steps here in Austin. Before I had children, I probably would have thought that such a place is nowhere for children. Some of you reading may feel that same way.
My mother died in January of 2010, and I am no longer a caregiver. And when I wish she were here to advise or support me, I think back to a time before our roles reversed, to a time when she was my caregiver. I know her well enough to guess how she might advise me today.
Try not to criticize yourself, second guess your feelings, doubt your abilities or be too hard on yourself when you think you've failed. The world does all those things for you and it is your job to stand up to it, not give in to it.