As I grow older and more cynical, these moments of softness and clarity are fewer and more far between, but even this asshole is prone to them now and again.

After just completing my now 4-year olds third birthday party, with 1-still remaining, I sit here in one of those rare, soft moments. Yes, I know 4-parties are a little insane, but some of you will understand. First off, she’s a goddamned princess, people, and don’t you forget that for one minute. Secondly, with two sides to most families, you get to deal with these hassles of appeasing everybody, especially when fucking craziness comes into play, but that’s neither here nor there.

When harkening back (I really just wanted to use the word “harkening”) to being four years old myself, my memories are very few. I can honestly remember pooping my drawers in the middle of the night and sneaking into the bathroom to dump the evidence into the toilet and flush, as if I’d get away with this.

I can remember eating all of the frosting off of an Easter cake my mother had iced over night, causing her to have to rush and redo it before the obligation it was destined for the next day, as well as be VERY pissed off about it, and I can remember neighborhood wiffle ball (Timmy shout-out!) games in our front yard in which I was the star, even at my ripe young age. Fuck you, it’s my story.

Beyond that, I don’t really remember much, which is what feeds a bit of my slight sadness this evening. Will my daughter remember how much I loved her and the silly and fun shit I do for her? Will she remember the multiple parties and the people around her whose lives she so often touches? And, most of all; will this happiness last…?

Another 4-years from that time of my own life would begin the worst couple years of my life, as a child, and completely rock the “Leave it to Beaver” world I thought I was living in, having much-lasting impact on my youth, as well as my adulthood.

I’m thankful to Chuck Norris, Vin Diesel AND Mr. T that my youngest never knew the me that she wouldn’t have been proud to call “Daddy” and you can bet my sweet ass that she never will. My oldest has memory of certain circumstances she wasn’t aware of the meaning of at the time, if you will, than actual behavior, which I’m also thankful for. That being said, I’ve been brutally honest with her regarding the details.

What I’m taking my normal long-winded time in saying is that I’m scared. Not scared in the overwhelming “what the fuck do I do” sense, but scared in what I guess is the normal parental sense, though spiced with some particular life experiences. My parents never would’ve drawn up the circumstances of my youth in their original “plan” for us, but they still occurred, nonetheless.

As my children age, my own mortality continues to haunt me like the 3-days following Oprah’s gynecology exam must haunt her doctor. Part of me sums up the father’s I interact with at school functions and such and takes pride in being in better shape than the majority of them. Then the other part of me is slapped directly in the fucking face with the likely reality that most of them hadn’t committed the internal abuse on their minds and bodies, which are not externally visible, that I unfortunately had.

I’ve said it before and, when it happens, you can all say a little “oh, yeah”, but I fully expect that my choices during a 15+year period of my life will undoubtedly culminate in some not-so-happy news for myself, and those who still miraculously love me, in the next decade. This is THE MAIN anxiety of my very anxious life.

I think of all that my Ma and Pop did right to raise me, but were still not able to protect me from myself and my fucked up brain, and the decisions it would lead me to. I then worry about the choices my own children will make, regardless of what I’ve instilled in them.

The obvious answer is that you give them all of the tools and knowledge you believe necessary for this shit-hole of a world we’ll soon release them to and you trust that they’ll utilize those lessons to make the right decisions. But you also realize that those “other” factors of shitty friends, peer pressure, curiosity and, the worst one of all, “coolness”, will be in direct battle with what you’ve spent their lifetime teaching them.

I watch my innocent, beautiful, sometimes testy and slightly evil, little princess blow out another set of candles and I wonder what this world has in store for her. I know that she’s tough as hell already and may actually be more of a challenge for it than the opposite, but still have that unfortunate “luxury” of knowing the pain and awfulness that bitch of a “real world” can bring to the table.

I hope that I’m still there for wisdom, I hope that she confides in that wisdom and I hope that I’m as happy to be her Daddy as I am tonight.

Happy Birthday, Monkey…KMFP-out!

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