May 31, 1985
To My Little Girl (6 months old):
Since you were born, I have undergone a gradual transformation. What has changed is my entire definition of self – the way I view myself. The change is imperceptible to others. I look, dress, and act the same as I always have, but I feel different.
I had a beautiful childhood. I felt safe in the knowledge that my parents loved me. This was, for me, a protective shield. My memories of those days are vivid and happy. I can still remember jumping in bed with my dad on Sunday mornings and the way he would turn and smile and wrap me up in his massive arms. I remember him lifting me gently and carrying me off to bed at night, and clinging to him, my head on his shoulder, pretending to be asleep. I remember our baseball games in the backyard and how proud I was that my dad was the one teaching us how to hit, field, and throw. I remember our man-to-man talks and how important I felt as my dad listened intently to my thoughts. In my eyes, my dad was of heroic proportions, fearless and strong, yet kind and wise. Today I not only remember those times with my dad, I feel them.
Now I walk into your room. It is dark and you are crying. You reach for me and I lift you out of your crib and hold you in my arms. You cling to me. Although you are still whimpering, you smile. I talk to you softly and turn to gaze into the mirror on your closet door. Through the dim light, I look at myself and see my dad.