Fifteen months ago today Jean Louise hopped on board the Earth Party Train. She was such a tiny and fragile creature. So small. So vulnerable. Yet, so incredible and captivating. It would be at this very moment that time, at least as I understood it to be — years, months, days, hours, minutes, seconds — would cease to remain at the constant rate of motion that I had experienced for my 48 years on this Earth revolving around the Sun.
456 days later, Jean Louise isn’t as tiny and fragile as she was the moment she was born. And, as if it was even possible, she is even more incredible and captivating. Every day I am somehow more amazed that this little lady continues to grow and learn into her own person. She’s funny. She’s lovely, She’s smart. Too damn smart.
10,942 hours I’ve been wrapped around the teeny tiny pinky finger of this little girl. And, full disclosure… There is no place else I’d rather be — contorted or not. I may have the nagging lower back of an aged codger, the creaky knees of decrepit geezer, and the bitter disposition of an old fogy — but I am quite comfortable and content wrapped around Jean Louise’s finger.
656,580 minutes later and I don’t mind at all the minutes of sleep that I’ve lost because Jean Louise may be restless or in need of her dad when it’s way past her bedtime. The countless minutes I’ve watched Sesame Street as opposed to The Walking Dead, or even anything other than Sesame Street, don’t seem as valuable as they once were.”Just a minute,” is anything but just a minute when time with Jean Louise is concerned.
39,397,100 valuable seconds have escaped my grasp since I’ve been a father to my daughter. No longer how firmly I clutch to each instant in our life together, they seem to expire and an ever increasing rate. I’ve been told by many many folks who have been parents for longer than I have been, “Enjoy your time with her because they grow up so fast.” It is so true. Every second counts.
“They grow up so fast,” is much more than just a cliché. If you have children you know that it is an indisputable scientific fact that children have a way of bending and manipulating the structure of the space-time continuum. They are adorable little black holes that absorb the chronological structure that we use to measure our existence on this plane. The key to interstellar travel may very well exist in harnessing this amazing ability that sons and daughters have to somehow accelerate the presumably rigid and constant structure of time. Jean Louise makes every moment I’m with her a very rare and precious commodity — as well as making this scruffy gruff old man turn into a big ol’ softy.
Slow down, kid. You’ll be all grown up and seizing the day before you know it. Let your old man enjoy all the time that he can with you. Love, your father.