I’ve had a year to accept the fact that I’m in my 30’s, I get heartburn more often, more cricks and cracks in my joints, and my body is more apt to display the calorie count of the last two meals I’ve had (and it is resilient at holding onto the last 18).
But about those positive turns in my life: We have a kid now, a baby girl who’s growing faster and faster each day. If you don’t know our story, Sarabeth and I had been waiting for a child for five years and we’re grateful to finally have our foster daughter in our lives.
Now we are in the process of trying to adopt her as our own so that she can be a Toy forever. Just the thought of that makes my eyes water and my heart pound like crazy in my chest. Sarabeth and I hold out for that day with all our might.
Along with aging however, comes an increasing tendency to be cranky and cantankerous in ways I never expected. For instance, I’m a much crappier father than I thought I’d be. I kind of turn into a jerk if my little girl starts crying when I’m busy working or eating or sleeping or – well, any time, really.
I don’t shake her or anything like that. And I don’t yell or scream at her. But I take on this tone that’s very… fatherish. (Not fatherly – there’s a big difference.) But she starts crying in the middle of Parenthood and I’m like, “Baby A.” – I don’t really call her that, that’s just what I call her on this blog until we reveal her name after she’s adopted. But I’m like, “Baby A. Stop. You don’t need to be crying right now. Wait eight more minutes when the show is over then Mom will come and take care of you while I disappear to the bathroom with a book until I can’t hear you anymore.” (Old age – seriously – it’s a killer.)
But then, there’s those moments when I look at her and I remember how small she used to be at just 6 pounds. And I recall how, less than a year ago, my heart would crumble by the shrieking cries in the night caused by her illness. Movies make me cry, but real-life stuff doesn’t really (something Sarabeth is often concerned about). But my little girl’s painful cries brought me to tears a handful of times.
It’s good to reflect on your life on your birthday. For me, I wouldn’t really have much of a life if it weren’t for my wife and daughter. In fact, I’d just be a cranky, cantankerous 31 year old with no one to remind me stop working for a day, or take a few minutes to play, or laugh, or just simply stop the rat-race for a moment and stop living in the future in my multi-million-dollar beach house surrounded by notable awards and honors for my bestselling books (not to mention the award-winning movies that are based off of them).
I need to stop and be content with my lot in life with my loft and my wife and my baby and my dogs and my books (by other authors), and just be. And maybe watch what I eat… after my birthday leftovers are gone… or sometime after Christmas.
And if you feel inclined to wish me a happy birthday in a meaningful way and help me achieve my goal of becoming a bestselling author, please feel free to purchase my book I Am the Lion on your Kindle device. I really would like that beach house for my wife.