An interlude in the "Innocent Age" series while I mark the passing of time once again...
Tomorrow my daughter, Morgan Wray Daliessio, will be 13. I can't believe the time has come and gone so quickly.
She came into this world two weeks early, on a Thursday night at St.Thomas hospital. She was tiny, and dark haired and perfect. For 8 1/2 months I anticipated becoming a dad. From that scary moment in Pat's restaurant back home in Delaware when Holly took the pregnancy test in the bathroom, until May 7, 1998 I couldn't wait until she got here. I talked to her every night through a paper towel tube, pressed against her mom's belly. One particular night, I leaned over and said "Hi Morgan...it's your daddy...I love you!" and in an instant, she kicked. She recognized my voice and knew I loved her before she took her first breath. She has never doubted that one very important truth...that her daddy loves her. When a child knows that to be true...when a child can trust that to be true...she will go far. When the world is against her and there are nothing but storm clouds and she has tripped and fallen on rocks she cannot even see...she will know, "My daddy loves me...he will be here for me, he believes in me...I can make it"
I can't think of a moment in the last 13 years that she hasn't brought me joy, given me hope, restored my faith, stoked the fire of faith, made me smile, and weep, with pride simultaneously, and fall to my knees more than a few times in thanks for the privilege of being her dad. She has shown me how a loving heart can make a difference. She has shown me that there is a love in this world that never fails, never abandons, and loves without limits.
She is talented beyond what I would ever have dreamed. She is caring and loving and tenderhearted in ways I have never witnessed. She wants to be a missionary or a school teacher. She wants to sing.
In the last 4 years I have lost so much. And in every loss, she lost as well because everything I have and am was founded in her and in my love for her and all those losses were her losses too. She has withstood them like a saint. She has never complained and seldom shown the sadness her heart surely contained...except when discussing her beloved pets. That becomes too much for her sometimes and the tears slip from her eyes.
My daughter is becoming a real godly woman. She has more love for Jesus than I have ever seen in a kid her age. It's sincere and real and genuine. She loves her family fiercely. She loves being a Daliessio. We talk of traveling to Montecassino one day to see my grandfather's hometown. She loves her Aunts and Uncles and cousins. She loves Seven Fishes at Christmas Eve with Toni and Nick and Uncle Franny.
She loves to sing. She sings all the time and everywhere she goes. Her voice gives me pause and makes me smile. She knows it is a gift and maintains such humility about it...I am proud of her.
She is 13 now. In five years she will leave and go to college and the return trips will be fewer and fewer. My little arrow has gotten another year closer to that sad and glorious day when God shows me, in no uncertain terms, where her intended target is. I will bend my bow with trembling hands...aim my sight through hot tears, and with a kiss and a smile I will let her fly...to become who and what she was put here to be. And her story will just be beginning.
...but tonight, she is my little girl, if only for a short time more. For all I have lost in the last four years, I have retained the only thing that really matters, and the one thing that gives me strength to try to get back all that has slipped away. I would breathe my final breath into her lungs to see her live. I would set my own dreams alight to see hers come true. For all else I may be...I am her dad and that is a blessing that I could not properly thank God for if I had eternity to say it and a thousand songs to sing it.
Happy Birthday Morgan Wray...You are the kiss of God on my tired lips and when you smile...I feel His smile as well. Your daddy loves you more than all his many words can ever tell.
Never forget that...