March 14th. My grandfather’s birthday. My niece’s birthday. But the biggest event on this date for me is the day that I became a father for the first time (of two), fifteen years ago.
This is yet another milestone I am surprised, and happy to have reached. As a result of treatments for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, I was not able to have biological children. And after some scientific assistance, efforts still came up empty. And then something happened, the country of China, made possible what I was not able to do here in my country of the United States, they gave me the chance to be a Dad.
Of all things that I have done and experienced in my life, there is nothing more important to me, than being a father. I am blessed with two wonderful daughters who give me meaning every day.
Our family situation is not ideal, nor is the fact that I have so many health issues to deal with. But that has never stopped me loving them, wanting to be there for them, and being proud of them as they become the young adults that they are.
Times have changed from teaching them to play and read, to teaching them about the importance of choices, and consequences and rewards of those choices. I have gone from doing what I can to protect them from scrapes and bruises, to now preparing them for the potential career directions that they want to take.
Fifteen years have gone by, way too fast. As I look back through all the photos (I do that a lot), I still see the little girl that was placed in my arms. I still hear the distinctive giggle that has not changed. She is as determined to do things, her way, as ever. She has a bright future ahead of her. I want her to have more opportunities than I had. I would like her to have a better start to adulthood than I did. Fifteen years is nothing compared to the milestones that are ahead for us, and I look forward to each and every one of them.