Tuesday, March 28, 2006


January 18th, 2002- after a couple of years of faithful service, the second car that I've ever owned, an '89 Buick Skyhawk, passed on to its heavenly reward. I got it home from work, parked it in the parking lot of our apartment complex, and there it sat, brokenhearted.

January 21st, 2002- I walked to work on a cold January morning to be ushered into the "offices" (read: basement) of the chocolate factory where I had been working for exactly one year. "Sean, we're letting you go," my supervisor said immediately, and what followed was a litany of lame reasons why my services were no longer required, most of which either had extenuating circumstances or were entirely untrue.

January 23rd, 2002- two pink lines.

Hey welcome to the world
Oh, your momma's been waiting for you
We did the whole nine yards
You nearly dropped in by the seat of your pants
You're my little girl and I have a name for you
A heartbeat honed in heaven
There ain't no seed that's simply thrown out to chance

The baby's first name had been decided before Laura and I had even gotten married. If it was a girl, I wanted to name her Rebecca. Not Rebekah, a name she would be forever spelling for people; not Becky, or Becca, Bekah, or Beck for that matter. Rebecca. Reminds one of Holly Hobby dolls and gingham dresses, doesn't it?

Her middle name for the longest time was going to be Rose, my wife's maiden name. Rebecca Rose. Sounds like it should be a character on a Hallmark Hall of Fame special or something. In 2001 a person close to my heart passed away. Evelyn Jean MacNair was my aunt, my advisor, one of my best friends. She died in April of 2001 at the age of 49 after two heart attacks. Things changed at that point. When we actually found out we were expecting a girl, I wanted her middle name to be Evelyn.

On the 25th of September, in the year of our Lord (and of the Anaheim Angels) 2002, at roughly 8:48AM, a little girl was born to an unemployed father and an anxiously waiting mother. Out the window instead of the door... oh wait, I've used that line before. We now had a matching set- a daughter to go with our son. Whereas my son gave out short bleats and screeches when he was born, my daughter let the world know of her arrival by proclaiming it from the housetops- loud. The nurse asked me how much I thought she weighed, and as much as I wanted to be able to brag about a ten pound baby, I guessed 9lb, 5oz. And I was right. There would be no middle ground with this child; she would make it known- I'm here, I'm dear, get used to me.

When we brought her home she was kidnapped. I'm not kidding. I had to drive to Medina to pick up my son, and while I was gone a neighbor woman stopped by. She held the baby and then decided that her roommates just had to see her, so off she went. Good thing I wasn't there :) My son's reaction upon meeting this intruder? He reached for her head and twisted it like a pop bottle top. That was the most interaction he would have with her for two years.

I bought a camera
I'd like to keep each memory intact
I've got the eagle eye, I've got it trained on you
I don't deserve you
There's so many qualities I lack
Every privilege has a price tag
I see a consequence in all that I do

For the longest time I was convinced that this little girl hated me. My son bonded with me from the beginning, but my daughter would cry when I picked her up. I could feed her occasionally, but she usually wanted to keep abreast of the situation. I changed my son quite a few times, but I gladly passed off the diaper changing duties for Rebecca; this time there were more places for the poop to hide. They should tie her naked to a plane and let her drop bombs on Iraq; we would win the war.

My daughter likes Veggie Tales and Elmo, but lately she has developed an affinity for The Wiggles. (See my last blog entry for a picture.) Have you seen these guys? I suppose if I was on acid or something they would be telling me the secrets of the universe; straight up these guys are weird. Weird... but strangely compelling. All day long I find myself singing, "Fruit salad...yummy yummy."

Rebecca has developed a unique personality. Whereas my son is an introvert, my daughter lets you know she's around. She doesn't do anything halfway. When she's mad, she screams; when she's happy, she laughs and chortles and guffaws; when she plays, she plays hard and when she sleeps, she sleeps hard. No middle ground. All the boys at preschool want to see her and all the girls at preschool want to be her.

I look for my future and I feel a peace about my past
Surprised by joy, I've seen my Father's mercy in you
You make a fine tutor and my vocation's clear at last
I can't wait to hear you call me something or see the world as you do

Having a son I can deal with; after all, I've been one, I know the path. Having a daughter is a different animal entirely. There are certain...umm... shall we say, "rites of passage" that I'm not sure I want anything to do with. I mean, she can be moody enough already, she doesn't need any extra influence from her hormones. I am not- I repeat, AM NOT going down that aisle in the grocery store :)

I am putting all males ages three to six on notice now. In ten years my daughter will be thirteen. You want to appreciate her beauty? Fine. She's a beautiful girl. You want to let your eyes stop at certain areas? You will lose those eyes. I got me a melon baller that will pop those eyes out right quick. (Insert evil "Deliverance"-type country yokel laugh here.) How do I know what behaviors teenage boys will exhibit? Don't forget, I used to be one. I'm getting a shotgun and placing it in the corner of my living room. I won't hunt with it; I won't shoot skeet with it; I will just let it sit there. The mere presence of a firearm will send a powerful message to any gentleman callers.

There are different responsibilities in raising a daughter than raising a son. Call it a double standard if you like, but it's true. There is an unspoken message being conveyed in our society that women exist for one purpose. I don't want my daughter to be looked at like that. I want her to be honored and respected by men, not leered at. I suppose that's going to happen anyway, but as long as I have an influence on her I am going to reinforce the message that she is valuable, she is to be treasured by a man, she is to be valued by a man, because she is God's grand creation.

I have 15 more years of influence on her left. I need to make it count.

You are the laughter in your (daddy's) eyes
The stars are bright but not like the shine I've taken to you
And tell me, who gave who the gift of life
We call it a toss-up, but these changes in me tell the real truth
I'm grateful for you

(all song lyrics from "Rebecca" by Ashley Cleveland; the change in the chorus is my own)


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