In my daughter’s mind, Valentine’s Day is on her birthday. Truth be told, she could care less; and I love that attitude.
Cydney will grow up, and Valentine’s Day will make her birthdays even sweeter. The day in which virtually the western world stops to celebrate love will become her day and I know she will revel in that. Around fifth grade or so, there will be boys copying something they saw on one of those dumb ass tween television shows they’ll watch. There will be cards that say happy birthday in the shape of hearts and all of that. The way that Cydney draws attention to herself, has the gift of gab, and her father’s good looks, there will be boys trying to shoot their proverbial shot.
Then my daughter will get older. Wisdom is a byproduct of experience which often comes at the expense of the optimism and innocence children laugh and smile on average over three hundred times a day. There will be crushes that began around homecoming and peak in mid-February leading to my little girl feeling just that: crushed. There will be the long-time boyfriend who for one year, wasn’t attentive enough and hadn’t gone through the proper channel to allow Cyd to stunt on the girls at her job with the biggest arrangement of flowers and the thoughtful gift. The laws of averages suggest that these will probably happen at one time or another.
While we will cross those bridges when we get to them, Cydney is in her last days of being four. Along with providing her basic needs, a major part of preparing her for the world is to build up her self-esteem on a granite and schist foundation. Because her birthday falls on a day that is equally synonymous with feeling amorous and heartbroken; rule number one is “Let nobody ever fuck up your birthday.” When people find out her birthday and either one of us reply February fourteenth, eyes light up and say “Oh really?!” In my lifetime, that is the only date of birth that gets such a response. The only other two would be those born on the eleventh of September and Christmas Day; and the faces that follow are more or less, yikes. It’s a sweet sentiment to be born that day, especially because of how she came and all that transpired shortly after…it only makes Cydney’s and my story even better.
I’m a father, so it is my job to mentally prepare for the hard times and at least have an idea of what to do before shit gets real. So when day comes in which she’s hurt, I will tell her my stories to show that I can relate. When she’s in elementary school, I’ll tell her about the time I got embarrassed trying to be matchmaker and the teacher read all of them out loud to the class (I remember one was Mary J Blige lyrics). When she’s in middle school, we’ll talk about them time that I saw the girl I had the biggest crush dancing and kissing someone else…not that she knew who I was; but that shit was still wack. Because Cydney is my daughter, she will know that there is never a time where she can’t laugh at someone else’s expense or an occasion too harsh to smile.
And then there’s the one story I’ll keep in my pocket for the catastrophe: her first birthday.
“It had been two months since her mother passed away and I hadn’t seen you in almost three months. I had already been to court in an attempt to get you back and had to wait until it was adjourned on March first. I missed you badly that day. Your aunt even tried to reach out to your uncle to at least see if I could talk to you for a moment and say happy birthday. It didn’t happen and he didn’t want to get in the way because well, both sides of the family were fighting over you.
Your aunt searched around for a picture of you, and found two. You looked much different than the last time I saw you. You had more hair on your head, you were standing, and you looked so much like your mother that I loved dearly. My family did their best to keep me distracted; but by the end of the night, I was just left with my thoughts. I remember sitting on the steps of the patio at my mom’s house at 11:25 [pm] (the time she was born) and just looking at your picture and looking forward to the day I could see you again.
As long as I’m alive, that will be the only birthday in which you won’t at least hear from me. I fought hard to make sure I got you and I’ll always be there. With that said, don’t ever let someone fuck up your birthday…It’s your day.”