I'm sure being a father has changed me in so many ways that I am probably not even aware of them all, but the one that I am most definitely aware of is that I am happy.
Whether it comes from being abused by parent-figures or burned by contemporaries, I am often suspicious when people show any kind of affection toward me. Somewhere in my brain, suspicions arise because if someone likes me, there must be something wrong with them. Many of my friends don't know why, but having read this I'm sure it makes sense. But with my daughter, there can be no doubt. She loves me with a white-hot, supernova love. When I walk into the house each day, she lights up and giggles so hard that she can't stand still. You can't fake that, and even if you could, she's not old enough to know how.
I'm still amazed at the things she learns. From the very first night of singing her to sleep I used Beethoven's Fifth: Da-da-da-daaaaaaaah; da-da-da-daaaaaaaaaaah. Now she sings it whenever she thinks it's appropriate, along with "ee-i-ee-i," which concludes with the unsung "oh." She has picked up sign language at an amazing rate. She learns a new word every two or three days. Yesterday was milk. She's like a sponge, this one. I have to be careful about what I say or do because she's likely to pick it up too quickly. Thank goodness for Battlestar Galactica, because I have weened myself off certain words that begin with "f" by saying "frak" instead.
I dream about Sera every night. I imagine what she'll be like when she's older, and I can see us taking her places like Disney World or Six Flags. In my dreams we do all the things I never got to do as a child. We'll be going to Mackinac Island this summer, something I didn't get to do until I was 16. I know she won't remember it, but we will.
I have spent entirely too much time in my life worring about the past. The best part of being a dad is focusing on the future. Maybe that's why I'm so happy!