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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

"I highly recommend this..."

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Seldom come the days that change your life, the ones you remember by date, month and year.

August 21, 1987 is one of mine.  It's the day my daughter was born.

I was 30 years old and figured I was ready.   I'd heard all the admonitions about how having kids "will change your life forever", having no appreciation for just how true they were.   And, having no clue as just what an incredible, fun, rewarding ride it would be.

It seems like it was only a few weeks ago that a couple of new, nervous parents pulled into their driveway, gingerly holding a pink little bundle who the dad was carrying a Ming vase.  I distinctly remember cursing the parenting gods for not providing the parents of newborns with owner's manuals.

And, it truly was just weeks ago (five, to be precise) that this same father was walking that same pink bundle down the aisle of the family church where she would start her new life as another man's wife.   Said pink bundle had blossomed into a beautiful young woman.

Got it from her mom.

Over the quarter century between came sleep-overs, high school math, dances, soccer, the social media, synchronized skating, a boyfriend or three, a couple of epic fights with mom, temps, SAT's, tussles with "the cool group" at school, campus tours, high school drama (on a stage and occasionally off it), first jobs, turning 21, graduations and medical emergency or two.   Comes with the package.   Each moment brought us together, made me a better parent, and hopefully a more complete person.

I didn't give my daughter many life skills: I don't hunt, fish or camp.   I'm no good with cars.   I'm not handy around the house.   She knows how to use a phone, and how to write a check.

I hope I taught her a few characteristics that I hold in high regard: an open mind, the ability to laugh with someone but not at someone and to always have a sense of humor about yourself, as well as the virtues of natural grass, the evils of the DH, how to master a baseball scorecard and throw a spiral.  

You just hope that the person you raised is some one who can fit in, succeed, acclimate, and persevere.  After 25 years, I'm really liking the way things turned out. 

Again, let's give credit where it's due here:  good job, mom.

August 21, 1987 changed my life, as the birth of a child does for every parent out there reading this.  I remember the details of that day vividly.   I also remember what I said a few days later to one of my best friends as I held my daughter in my recliner at home.

"I highly recommend this," I said contently, clueless as to the adventures that lie ahead.

I still do today.   More enthusiastically than ever.


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