Figures this humble little "Daddy Blog" would turn three on Mother's Day, but the parenting moments documented here have always been very much a team effort, so I'm not complaining. In preparation for the anniversary, I went back and read some of the early posts, girls were 5 and 3 when this all started, and it's amazing to breathe in and appreciate the changes and growth we've seen over a relatively short period of time. At some point in this process Madison and Ava wandered over and we looked at the old pictures and read some of the text and much laughter ensued, which confirmed my long-held view that this is all worth it.
I've been focused on stages lately, which seems appropriate for a milestone post. This is #286 in the event anyone's counting. I certainly haven't been lately, although I'm not yet ready to free my limited audience with a Larry Sanders-esque "you may now flip" sign-off. We'll keep plugging away here, I think I have the domain registered through 2016 or something, so mothballs aren't anywhere in sight. Although we make no warranty, expressed or implied, regarding frequency.
When I started this blog we were just approaching the end of the baby stage, that brief period during which basically everyone we knew had kids, were having kids, thinking about having kids or found themselves somewhere in that unique and indescribable place. Strollers, bottles, diapers, "Music Together" classes "Hello... everybody, so nice to see you," the first few "artistic" dashes of paint on a large piece of a paper. Carrying everything you could possibly imagine with you at all times, in preparation for any possible contingency or development. The "process" of life at that point seems even more daunting looking back than it probably was at the time.
Now most of the people in our circle have moved into the "pets" stage, feels like every week or so there's a new dog or cat emerging somewhere, I get the highlights in mid-afternoon phone calls from Gwen that she and the girls went over to someone's house to meet some kind of furry arrival, of course now that we have two cats it's the dogs that really seem to captivate Madison and Ava. Sorry kids, we're not going there. Yet. Feel bad about saying no, because I remember growing up the idea of a dog of my own was like the one glaringly unattainable objective, I just couldn't get there, regardless of how or how often I asked. I was somehow able to convince my parents to pay for television, but a little puppy running around that was "mine" was a nonstarter.
I was on a business trip recently and went to dinner with a group of parents who were in the "teenage years" stage, on the early side. The conversation gravitated to the appropriate age for first cell phones (consensus at the table was 12 or 13), monitoring online behavior and interactions, social networking sites, dating, who's driving and what time will you be home and other fun issues. And after ordering eight more drinks I took comfort in the fact that we're not there yet, not close to there yet.
And then I came home from work one night last week and was greeted by Madison asking whether or not she had "an e-mail," because one of her friends in her Second Grade class had asked if she could send her a message. Years ago on that happy day when we first found Gmail, I set up accounts for everyone in the family, and told Gwen that by the time the girls were old enough to use theirs a Gmail address was going to be the modern-day equivalent of a Social Security number. I still hold this view, although Madison expressed interest in hers a little too early to really validate the prediction. All apologies to Larry and Sergey.
I told her she did, in fact, have "an e-mail" and then we went into the account and cleared out the hundreds of spam messages she'd received, all the notifications of upcoming Laurie Berkner Band appearances and she started fresh, picked her own "theme" (Summer Ocean) and everything. Has been kicking messages back and forth with a couple of friends for the last few days and it's all cute and innocent at this point, friendly phonetically spelled greetings and good wishes, but the signs are clear, we're headed into another stage. Nothing is ever really too far away, once you've entered the continuum. And, wherever you happen to be along the way, whatever link in the chain you are currently focused on, two words most definitely apply.