Today my daughter turns eight o'clock.
She was born at midnight and she doesn't remember one in the morning, or two or much of three. Those hours tend to run together.
But now it's eight already, and she's been light for a few hours now.
Soon it will be noon—you know how fast a busy morning goes—and just as her sun reaches the top of the sky, an inexperienced but determined young woman will be trying to kidnap my daughter.
By mid-afternoon—sixteen hundred hours, military time—the young woman will be winning. And by eighteen hundred she will have won, and she and my daughter will be gone from here.
I'll be tired, I guess, and my nerves will be frayed and I'll have a cocktail.
After that, I'll grill her at every dinner table I can put between us, asking the same questions I always ask. How was school? Did anything great happen? Did anything terrible?
And then it'll be eight, and she'll be o-two-hundred hours. Her bedtime when she was little. As then, I'll occupy myself with other things but I'll listen for noises upstairs.
And then 10, and she'll be twenty-two hundred. My bedtime, now. I'll sleep by the phone.
And then it'll be midnight again, and though I hope she doesn't feel alone, she'll know she's on her own.
And ready to someday make her own, which I hope this hectic, lovely, funny day we've had together will have made her want to do.
Thanks to Ron Shewchuk, who sent me this song, and who knows all about the foolishness of trying to keep a stiff upper lip while you're watching the sun setting fast. —DM