My daughter is growing up too fast, time stop

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Life is funny. And, I won’t lie to you: Sometimes I get so busy with the day-to-day operations of the newspaper, my family and the other things happening in my life that I wake up and realize it’s Tuesday and I have no idea what I might write about for my column. Then, some weeks, it just hits me like a ton of bricks. This week, I could build a house.

But, this column is more of a narrative. You see, my daughter turned 8 last week, and as I was sitting with her on a school night while she read a Hans Christian Anderson book to me, I thought, “How did this happen? When did she get so grown up?” It was just one of those moments in life. And then, a few hours later, my wife chose the show “Quantum Leap” for us to watch. “Hmm. The things that change us and make us who we are really do come at strange times and from seemingly random places,” I thought.

All day long, I had been thinking about my daughter’s birthday and of how, eight years ago last week, I was a truly scared young man about to have his first child. I had no idea what to expect or what to do. At the time, I couldn’t imagine being a father. Now, I couldn’t imagine being anything else.

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But, back to “Quantum Leap.” When I was a kid, my dad was a Baptist minister; he was also an English minor in college. So, as a result, I knew more about Dante’s Inferno by age 10 than some graduate students know now. Another thing I vividly remember from childhood was that my dad had a huge framed photo of a man hanging in his office. I didn’t know who he was until I was an older child, but that photo of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. now hangs in my home. Why? Because, when I was old enough to ask, my dad told me – with conviction – why Dr. King was such an important person. But, oh yeah, back to “Quantum Leap.”

As I grew up, I began to learn lessons from places I had chosen on my own. I learned life isn’t really lived unless you take chances from Garth Brooks. I learned not to stop believing from Steve Perry. I also learned what selflessness means from Dr. Samuel Beckett on “Quantum Leap.” See, I didn’t forget.

You see, Dr. Beckett invented a time machine and found himself jumping around in the past in order to, as they put it, “put right what once went wrong.” I don’t have the space to explain the whole story – which I could – but, Dr. Beckett always did the “right thing.” He did it even when it did direct harm to himself (time travel is apparently a tricky business). But, it got me thinking: His example had a huge impact on my life. I’d like to think I’ve been a good person; put others in front of myself. I know I’ve fallen short of that mark on many occasions. But, watching that show made me think again about my daughter. Dr. Beckett always tried to do the right thing. That’s the kind of man I would want my daughter to marry one day (even though I don’t ever plan on letting her marry anyone). And, that reminded me the best thing I can do – always – is strive to be that kind of man myself.

They say a lot of women end up seeking out significant others that remind them of their fathers. I hope Sawyer looks for a man like Dr. Sam Beckett. I’m going to do my best to make sure she does.