This is an old Large Man Chronicle, written 6 years ago. A writer needs inspiration, few things in my life have inspired me the way my children have. I remember the look on my little girl’s face the first time she looked up at me through her new glasses, and I can’t specifically tell you why it was such a special…and inspirational, moment, but it was. Thankfully, I can close my eyes and see that pretty little face, in that perfect father daughter moment, just about any time I want; on a plane to Dallas, on a shuttle to the rental car counter in Kansas City, or in this hotel room in Boston. That image is burned into my memory forever, and as long as I have it, and a few others like that, I’m never too far from home.
In some ways, I think it’s a little presumptuous to tell tales about my kids, it feels like I’m showing you my home movies. A good writer would never assume that such personal things are interesting to the masses. But I re-publish this rather poorly written & structured tale, and I ask you Large Man readers to just “indulge me” on this one. Because, I didn’t know it at the time, but I became a writer on the day this story took place. I remember that pretty face, and I remember the ride home in the car, and I remember not being able to stay away from my computer. I didn’t “want” to tell this story, I HAD to tell this story. The Large Man was born sometime around my little girl’s 10th birthday. I will never be able to properly express the gratitude I have for that sweet and simple, little moment. Game changer.
Today, that “little girl” turns 16. She still inspires me, she is still my light. She is a perfect mix: she’s 24% the best things about my Mom, she’s 25% the best things about my wife, and she’s 51% her own unique, twisted, special blend.
Happy Birthday, Alex Rae, I love you to the moon and back. Thank you for making me proud, every single day! And thank you for making me a writer – your gift to me is endless.
Here’s ‘Thank Heaven for Little Girls’ , my personal favorite of ‘The Large Man Chronicles’. Most of you have already read it, if you haven’t, give it a look and tell me what you think.
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I just went to the optometrist and picked up glasses for my 9 year old daughter. $250.00 f-ing dollars on glasses for a 9 year old child. I remember wanting glasses when I was her age; I even purposely failed my vision test at school. Now that I have to wear them, it’s a little less thrilling. So, yes she was excited, something new. Yes, she was very appreciative. I’m thankful that she understands and recognizes, and appreciates, that she could pick out whatever she wanted. And yes, she asked me if I wanted to go to the electronics store and look at big screens to take away some of the sting of the $250… “Since we’re already out”, she offered as a consoling gesture. I guess it warms my heart a little to see that happiness, but DAMN!!!…$250.00!!! Plus, I know that braces are just around the corner. What’s the point in even looking at big screens?
BUT, this is my world, my station in life. My little girl is spoiled, maybe not rotten, but spoiled. And that’s okay. I thank heaven for this spoiled little girl every day.
My daughter is going to be 10 years old in a few weeks. That is, if she agrees to it. She usually has her own set of plans, her own rules. Those rules and plans are generally different from society’s accepted standards of practice. She wears what she wants to wear; she eats what she wants to eat. She cares very little about anyone’s opinion of her choices. She has very little need for approval. Report cards and teacher conferences confirm that she is a pretty smart chick, and never a behavior problem. She has a quirkiness that an artist has, that skewed view of the world that will forever make her special, and can sometimes make her an outcast. She is the light of my life, and has been since the day I met her.
Alexandra Rae was supposed to be a boy, she was supposed to be a Jack. When my wife was carrying her, we didn’t find out who was coming because we wanted a surprise. The genealogy didn’t really line things up for there to be much of a surprise. I say that she was supposed to be a boy because it seems like I have about 1,000 cousins on my father’s side of the family, and like 5 are girls. Those facts may be exaggerated, but for whatever reason; everyone just expected a boy.
But secretly, in those private, reflective, father-to-be moments, for 38 weeks I wished for a little girl. I know you’re not supposed to think like that when you’re an expectant father. You are supposed to want “10 fingers and 10 toes”, and a healthy heart. Of course that was all I ever prayed for, but very quietly…very privately…I hoped for a little girl. I was always a little nervous about that. Was I tempting fate by wishing and hoping?
The nurse who greeted us in the maternity ward on the day my little girl was born was absolutely gorgeous. She was only about five feet tall, raven black hair, eyes as green as emeralds, and a tight little package that was built for speed. These facts have nothing to do with this story, they’re just another part of this great memory.
She asked us beforehand if we knew who was coming, and we told her we were pretty sure it was “Jack”. During the very short labor (about 90 minutes) in the middle of all the drama and chaos that went on in that room, our nurse chanted a few times, “Jack be nimble…Jack be quick”. My wife and I thought it was cute and fun. It was also quite prophetic.
Our first child was very nimble and very, VERY quick, she just didn’t turn out to be a Jack. My wife did not plan on a natural child-birth, but our daughter had a different set of plans. Alex Rae didn’t have time for anyone to hook up an epidural, she was ready, and we were on her clock now.
When our hot little nurse uttered those magic words, “Well Mom and Dad, you have a perfectly healthy baby…. girl!” My wife and I were shocked. I was happiest about the “perfectly healthy” part of her statement for sure, but I have to admit that I always felt like maybe I cheated a little bit. On April 27th 1999 I got what I prayed for, and what I hoped for. That’s a pretty good day.
On that Tuesday in April almost 10 years ago, my little girl grabbed my index finger, squeezed harder, and cried louder than any living thing that size should be able to do. She looked right at me, and in her own language she seemed to be saying:
“Look, I know you’re scared, and you probably should be – you are not remotely qualified to do this job, but God and Mommy will get you through. Just understand that things are gonna change around here, dude, and you’re gonna buy me shit…lots and lots of it. Clothes, toys, shoes (I will never understand the shoe thing)…and you’re gonna complain about it out loud, but deep down inside, buying me stuff is gonna make you happy. Because deep down inside the thing that makes you the happiest, is making the people you love happy. And right now, this very minute, you just realized that you’ll never love anybody the way you love me. Pretty cool huh? Now pick me up; I won’t break. Oh by the way, I came two weeks early, in April, because I like diamonds, and the birthstone for May is an emerald. Emeralds just don’t work for me, dude. That’s how I roll.”
At least that’s how I remember it all. She seemed very wise for somebody that was only a few minutes old.
So, the $250.00 that I spent on glasses today does NOT make me happy. The light in the eyes behind those glasses always makes me happy. Those eyes melt my heart every day. The light in my little girl’s eyes make those glasses worth every penny. I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for 10 years now. For 10 years, I have thanked Heaven every day for this little girl.
Well now it’s 16, and I still do…and I always will.
Thanks for reading.