I don’t normally post on Sundays, because you don’t pay for Sunday delivery. But today is my daughter Scout’s 12th birthday, and there’s something I’d like to say.
When Scout was a baby, I remember telling my best pal Tommy, who didn’t have kids yet, that going into Scout’s room every morning was like getting a brand new Christmas present every day.
Not just because it was nice to see her again. Because she actually was new! She actually looked different to me, every morning, than she did the night before. She had grown a little over night, changed shape—I swear! Her smile was more confident. She’d had dreams and they’d changed the look of her eyes. She was brand new—and brand new surprise every morning.
Tommy indulged what I’m sure he thought was a little bit of beery parenting blarney. (He has two kids and knows better now.)
But here’s the new surprise: Scout is 12—complicated and becoming more so every day; not always primarily interested in hanging around the original hero; becoming a woman and fully aware of it and taking one more step every day down a road of her own—and I’m still getting a new present every single day. Only now the present isn’t just in the morning, when I go into her room and find her in her crib. It’s whenever I feel discouraged. Or lonely. Or bored. Or worried. Or worst of all, when I feel nothing at all.
I just think of Scout. I just think: Scout. My new present. My always brand new present.
And I’m happy.