Twenty one years and 9 months ago I made a decision that changed my life for the better.
I married the most beautiful woman in the world, at least the most beautiful woman in the world to me, the woman who is salt to my pepper (and peter). We had lived together for 13 years so we were not strangers, but a commitment was made with the institution of marriage, and 9 months later, almost to the day, our daughter was born.
In the movie Brokeback Mountain, one cowboy seals his love and fate with the line, "you complete me." This means that you were incomplete before, and perhaps that there is some kind of finish line.
I can't say that either my wife or daughter complete me, because that seems so final, and also because there is still so much more to complete. It's not a question of a glass being full or empty; at a certain point, you need to get more glasses.
What I can say without hesitation is that my wife and daughter make my life better than it would be without them, that they bring so much life to my life, that I treasure all our many experiences together, both good and bad, and that they are without a doubt two of the best reasons to keep living.
We live for intimate moments in this life. We crave intimacy, to come together. Science proves this with quantum theory. We are not meant for separation.
When you get to a certain age, people ask "are you in a relationship?"
Then they ask " is it a serious relationship?"
Then they ask "when can we meet this person?"
The next question is "when are you two getting married?"
Have you thought about having kids?
When are you having more kids?
Nothing seems to be enough for some people.
When I was asked "how many kids do you have?", I always answered, one good one.
What more could I ask for?
One good one.
She is smart, funny, talented and a real stunner, as someone in her daycare once said. Even the nurses at the hospital when she was born, said she is a beautiful baby, and we can say that because they all aren't beautiful you know, some are downright ugly.
I think ugliness tends to grow on people. With time. Like a suit that doesn't quite fit.
When I was a child I would say to my parents that I was going to run away. They said, fine. You can go out like you came in, in your birthday suit. The thought of walking naked out the door and down the street always stopped me from making my exit plans a reality.
My child is turning 21 today. One day in the future, she will want to leave, and I know that.
While there are days when I would welcome this news, in reality it would leave a huge hole. But that is life. Huge holes.
As our children age and separate from the family, the intimacy that we knew when they were so small is usually long gone.
I remember reading her bedtime stories, and she would look at me with such rapt attention, then pulling me closer to her, and saying "puh". Then she laughed. Then she did it again.
"Puh". And again. It sticks with me what a strange intimate moment that was. A closeness that cannot be duplicated in any other way.
Or when she would tell me, Dad, I need a hug. I demand a hug. And I would oblige. Or the night when I was reading her a story I had read her so many times before, and I stopped, and she starting reciting the story, word for word, verbatim for almost a page and half. I was shocked, amazed but she was telling me loud and clear she was listening.
I remember the time she was learning to skate, and went out to the middle of the ice and just sat down, oblivious to the rest of the kids or the class going on around her.
I remember walking into her second grade class and some other girl making a catty comment, and how I felt like punching an eight year old girl for being mean to my little girl.
I remember driving her to school so many days, years, and usually being late, and her telling me from the backseat one day, that's ok Dad, we are a family of liars. OUCH!
I remember the day she graduated from high school, and everyone was supposed to write a slogan that described who they were.
She came out with a sign that read "Colour Outside the Lines."
That's my girl.