She’s One. I’m Done.

I understand why there are “daddy’s girls” and “mama’s boys.”

When I think of my son, I am in a rush for him to grow up. I usually don’t give him the benefit of the doubt. I want him more than anything to learn to take care of himself. My wife thinks I’m hard on him, and I don’t doubt I am.

When I think of my daughter, I dream in different colors. I want to protect her, shelter her. Whereas I would fast-forward my son to his 18th birthday, I want to play my daughter’s life in slow-motion. I want to freeze the sands of time, smash that hour-glass into a thousand irreparable pieces.

It’s just how I feel. She turns one today, and I’m struggling with it.


She was saying “mama” for months before she called for me. Then one afternoon, mid conversation with my wife, she woke up from a nap with a shrill “daaaada!”

“I’m coming Amelia.”

I ran, like Superman to the phone booth. She asked for me. I wanted to be there instantaneously, my heart sprang my legs like a trampoline.


She made me cry a week ago. I sang to her The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” in utero. I rock her to sleep with it these days. Last Wednesday, when her head rested on my shoulder and her eyes began to helplessly close, I realized the power of the words I sang.

If you should ever leave me

Well life would still go on believe me

The world could show nothing to me

So what good would living do me?

God only knows what I’d be without you.”

The thought of losing her was not what brought me to tears. It was the beauty of having her. And it was in this realization of unconditional love, that I cried like a baby.

It took me these eight days leading up to her birthday to be able to articulate what she means to me.


It is this appreciation of beauty in the everyday that inspires the Miracle of the Mundane. My daughter helps me understand the beauty in everything. She teaches me that beauty is life—life unfiltered. We muddy it up with pettiness, jealousy, anxiety, worry—with ego, but beauty is always there.

Michelangelo is said to have said: “All I did was chip away everything that didn’t look like David.”

When we remove what isn’t, we see what is. And what is is beautiful.

My daughter is the sculptor, chiseling away the unnecessary stone from my heart.

William Blake is the one who wrote:

“If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite.”

My daughter is the perception cleanser. Whatever is meddling with my day, when her head rests on my shoulder, or she shakes her head with a playful coo and gummy smile, she wipes my perception clean. I see her in tunnel-vision, everything else drifts out of focus. I care for nothing but her.

She will grow up. She will infuriate me. I will infuriate her. She will say “I hate you” and break my heart. But nothing she can ever do will make me stop loving her. She will always be my little girl, resting her head on my shoulder.

18 Responses to “She’s One. I’m Done.

  • Too many thoughts to write on this little post, however, you’ve touched me—deeply. Just this morning I was thinking how much i missed my little girl, as my “thirTEEN” year old charmingly exited the car for school. I miss her head on my shoulder. Thank goodness I was sober through it all (well most of it). LOL

    • thirTEEN! Haha. Thanks Lisa. I wanted to capture this day as close as I can because I know it all will change. I don’t ever want to forget it.

  • Every little girl deserves to be adored by her father, like you are doing for your sweet Amelia. A few years ago my husband had this lightbulb moment…”now I understand how much God loves us no matter what. Because nothing can change my love for “our girl.” It’s just there and it’s constant, unchanging, and I’m not God. How much better and more enduring will His love be, if I am able to muster this up!” I know too that raising kids of my own gender has forced me to look back at my own childhood and me and who I was….it can be tricky to parent our little mini-me’s. Savor and nurture that little boy….the one in your house and the one in your heart.

  • Stunning as always Mark. Happy Birthday to her.

  • Mark, this is beautiful. FWIW, I have 3 daughters who have grown into beautiful, independent women, ages 27,25,23. I remember feeling much as you do, with each one of them individually. Watching them grow up in every way has been the most gratifying aspect of my life, without exception. In a good way I do not miss the days when they were the ages of your daughter; rather, I relish those memories while nurturing our now adult relationships. I know you won’t wish it away, but I will tell you that an adult relationship with your child is an incredibly beautiful thing. Peace, HD

  • Absolutely beautiful. William Blake is one of my favorites.

  • My daughter is 18 this year and it does hurt, just a bit. I miss my kids being little but I can promise you that each age bring its own beauty and awesomeness.

  • I forgot to say earlier how cute she is. I mean look at her in her little dress! And the little feet! I just want to love on her.

  • I recall wanting my older daughter to grow up faster, but I drank in her early years and my little one is still kind of little and my memory fuzzy at times. I really like the visual of chipping away at the stone around a heart, and the reminder of how very much I get out of loving my own children.

    • It might be a same-sex thing. You want your daughter to grow up fast, I want my son. That’s interesting. Thanks for the compliment Kristen. It took me a long time (like I said 8 days) to word that brief post.

  • Great post, Mark. It will mean so much to youboth, down the road, to have such a beautiful reminder of this time.
    I tell my firstborn regularly that he is what God used to teach me about REAL love. 6 months prefnant is when the “moment of clarity” got my attention. Isn’t it brearh-taking, considering how we love our babies as an example of a fraction of how much HP loves His own… 😀
    Thanks. And, yeah, your children are just way too cute. #Soblessed

    • Thanks Abbie. I’m glad you read Annette’s comment too. If I could go back in time, I’d include it in the blog it is so insightful! I guess that’s the beauty of this live literature. It’s always a collaborative effort!

  • My husband is tough on our sons but like a marshmallow with the girls. Our little girl is getting married on Saturday, my poor husband is already fragile and he hasnt even walked her down the aisle yet!

    • Oh my God. Congratulations! That is incredible! I shudder to think of that day. Luckily, I have some years, I pray at least 20 before I have to ‘give her up.’

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