On December 15, 1994, my daughter Ronni was born. There is an epic story from then to now, but it is probably not that interesting to anybody except the two of us. The bottom line is that we only started getting to know each other a year ago. And it started with a lot of caution and hesitation. Neither of us really knew the other, so we had to take things slow.
She has grown into a beautiful young woman that I am proud of every single day. Seriously, I look at her and see proof that I can do at least one thing right. And living apart like we do (she is in Illinois currently) and with things as they were, we have never shared an actual Christmas morning. We have shared two of her birthdays (the 2nd and the 18th). We have never sat down to a Thanksgiving dinner. I have never been with her for my birthday. Father's Day.
Not one Halloween. (This year she was some sort of Nerdy Lumberjack.)
This year, I got to cross Thanksgiving off the list. I picked her and her boyfriend James up at the airport.
I knew it would be a more comfortable meeting than the one two years ago, but I could have never dreamed that it would be so amazing. When I saw her and we made eye contact, I saw her smile, and then she started walking faster until she was running. I caught my daughter and shared perhaps the greatest hug of my life.
See? She can fly!
And then gently touch down.
Really big smiles. Emphasis on REAL.
Yep. A good day.
And it led to a wonderful week where I got to spend some time with my little girl and just enjoy her being there. The nerves and tentativeness of our first visit seems a million years ago. And I don't know if the smile will ever fade from the corners of my mouth.
Even Denise was happy to see her, and let her know in her own special way. So I got to see both my girls enjoy being together. They even had a day of "girly stuff" where Denise, Ronni, and Jenifer got their hair, makeup, and nails done while James and I shot a round of golf and just got to get acquainted.
And then there was Thanksgiving dinner. Oh yeah. I was in the kitchen until 3 AM and then back up at 6 to have dinner on the table by 2. After which, we slipped into a pleasant food coma. I still have some stuff on my list, but I truly had something that I was beyond thankful for this year.
We even got to decorate a tree together this year. We did so back when she was two, but I was the only one who remembered the event. However, Ronni did remember my re-telling of that special memory and she, Denise, and Jenifer worked together so that Ronni could re-create a special memory. Let's just say that it involves me getting a lot of tinsel on my head and leave it at that.
All in all, this will be something that holds a spot in my heart for all time. I am truly the luckiest man in the world.