Today my wife and I went to our daughter's new school to register her for Kindergarten.
My little 5-year-old beauty is starting school in 3 weeks at the same school I attended when I was a kid. I never had the pleasure of Kindergarten there, since I started public school in the 5th grade.
But all of this makes me look back on the last 5 years.
Our first daughter was born 2 days before first semester exams during my second year of law school. For the first week after she was born, I was spending an immense amount of time studying for tests. My wife and my mother-in-law would insulate me from the night-time crying so that I could sleep. I was afraid that the lack of initial bonding time would hamstring my relationship with my daughter.
It didn't. My wife went back to work a couple of weeks after our beauty was born, and I only worked a couple of hours a day at a law firm in Lubbock. That's where I met a great fella, fantastic attorney, and wonderful father by the name of Jo Paul Archer. He had two young daughters, and was as devoted to them as any Dad I'd ever seen before. He told me that his motto was, "I'm a Dad who happens to be a lawyer. Not a lawyer who happens to have kids." I adopted that motto as my own, and I've never looked back. Jo Paul has since passed on, and the world is the worse for it; but I can give him a bunch of credit for making me a better father in those days I worked with him.
I was starting the process of setting up interviews with all of the big Texas firms at the time. When she was born, that all changed. I thought about working long hours for really good money; only to have my daughter wonder who I was her entire life. So, I decided to go the other way, working shorter hours for less money, and being a Dad first.
For the first year of her life, while my wife worked, I got to do the "Mr. Mom" thing. It was beautiful. It was stressful. It was tough (much tougher than law school), but also enjoyable. I only wish I'd had the same opportunity with my next two beautiful daughers.
Because of it, I developed an extremely close bond with her, and I know she'll be a "Daddy's girl" for life.
Magic, I know you're not allowed on the internet yet (after all, you're only 5); but someday you may read this. I'll try to tell you every day how proud I am of you; but in case I slip from time to time, here I am telling it to the entire world.
I love you, sweetheart.
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