Today is my oldest daughter's 19th birthday.
Emily was born in 1986, amid the height of the Iran-Contra scandal, during the Reagan years. It's hard to believe she is already 19. I can't tell you how proud I am of the woman she's become.
Emily and I are pretty close, but not nearly so close as I'd like. It's mainly my fault, stemming from problems I had understanding her and getting along with her several years ago when her mother and I were splitting up. Time heals wounds, and daddies grow up and realize what they do has a direct impact on their kids. It's not that I did anything horrible (no beatings, no cheating on their mom, none of the "deadly sins"), but I wasn't what we call today, "engaged" very much. And she was very bitter over the separation and having her childhood screwed up by parents who couldn't get along.
So she made the choice to live with her mom when we separated back in 2003. Since then, Emily has grown up a lot, I've mellowed a lot and learned how to be a dad, and we've grown much closer. I don't see her as much as I'd like, and again that's my fault, but the times we do spend are very good, and very important.
In the last year she has raised her guide-dog, has virtually full-time employment, attends college, and was able to save nearly $2000 for herself. She's becoming a grown up woman, and I'm incredible amazed.
So, Emily, happy birthday! Enjoy 19, because before you know it you'll be 30 and life will be over.
Just kidding, but you won't be 19 again, that's for sure!