Prologue to Open Verse
My lovely wife serves a multitude of roles in our tidy home. Functioning as something between historian, editor, decorator, travel agent, organizer and janitor, Anita recently rummaged through the archives of our lives as expressed in our writings. Today’s newsletter, drawn on a forgotten bit of verse of mine from 20 years ago, is meant to be an acknowledgment of a life well-lived for the past four decades. Happy birthday, Christina Farrar Vance!
I Always Wanted a Little Girl (April 8, 2000)
A call to my office came
and I learned that my son
would not be an only child.
For the first time, I wondered,
“What would it be like
to have a little girl?”
Choosing suspense over science,
we were left to ponder.
As none months passed,
I had the chance to decide
how I would prepare in case
we had a little girl.
Having no sister,
I was left to speculate
about what this new experience might bring.
The more I imagined, the more it appealed.
As time passed, my anticipation grew
And I realized that I really wanted a little girl.
A hurried phone call,
a rough ride over railroad tracks.
a frustrating bout with admitting bureaucrats,
and labor raced into delivery.
In a tangle of blood and cord and limb
it remained unclear if I had a little girl.
Within moments, however, beauty emerged.
From the very start, we knew
that out new little one was unique in every way.
As every year passed brightly,
My dark little vision unfolded
And I was glad that I had a little girl.
The compliance of childhood
collided with the challenges of adolescence.
Parental enjoyment and satisfaction
regressed into obligation and frustration.
I sighed, feared, and wondered why
I ever wanted a little girl.
Thankfully, I’ve learned the truth of the cliché:
“It is always darkest before the dawn.”
Awkwardness and insecurity melted away
and what remained
Is a stunning, striking kind and thoughtful young woman
who is more than my little girl.
So, I gaze in wonder
at the product of genes, hugs and tears
that scurries around me daily.
I’m glad that she’s strong confident and wiser,
and I am a bit sad that those qualities enable her
to no longer be my little girl.
Soon, she will be gone
At first intermittently and, eventually, permanently.
As I think back on the years and memories,
A rainbow of feelings blinds me.
But, I know I was right when
I always wanted a little girl.
Her future is uncertain, but the outcome is not.
Success and happiness are assured.
No matter how mature she becomes or
whatever adult role she assumes,
I’m happy and proud to realize that
she will always be my little girl.
Ok, my readers have received a glimpse into the thoughts of a father: me. But most of my readers haven’t met my daughter. The stanzas catalog her father’s experience with her over the first two decades of her life. What became of her?
Oh, so many things. She married a fine man, mothers three kids who dote on her, and runs a business that assists her clients in becoming physically and, much more importantly, emotionally and spiritually fulfilled. Christina is the proprietor of a spin cycling and barre studio. She makes her students both sweat and smile. As the daughter of two professional counselors, she follows their legacy via a different route. Simply stated, my “little girl” inspires her charges as she pushes them to go faster and farther in all aspects of their lives. Christina’s clients admire and respect her. Her business, along with her family, is her mission in life. Forty years ago, I had hopes for my little girl. I have none now because those hopes became reality. As I look back over the past 40 years, I was blessed with my little girl and, as I see her today, te world is blessed with her as well. There is no greater source of satisfaction for a parent.