There were a lot of firsts for my wife Kate, my daughter Abbileen and myself on Saturday. For starters, Kate and her mom were up bright and early to head out for some Saturday morning shopping, leaving Abby and I to enjoy our first-ever daddy-daughter day.
I had it all planned out too. We would watch some of the Nascar Xfinity Series race I’d taped the night before. Then we would head off to Elgin Pond to enjoy some of the Huck Finn Fishing Day, and maybe pick up a complimentary McDonald’s coffee - the preferred brand of The Standard - while we were there.
It all started off so well, with Denny Hamlin dominating the race. So, all I had to do was accomplish what I imagined would be the simple task of getting Abby dressed and we’d be out the door in plenty of time for the Huck Finn Parade down Water St.
It was not that simple.
She may not appreciate this when she discovers this column as a teenager, but in the process of changing her diaper, my sweet little girl peed, well everywhere. This led to another first: my first time giving her a bath. In my mind, this didn’t seem too difficult, I’d seen Kate do it many times while I stood standby with a towel. Oh, how my wife can make things look easy.
Flash forward less than 10 minutes and my t-shirt is soaked, as I’m trying desperately to figure out exactly how to slip Abby into the towel without submerging it in the bathwater, all while our two little Yorkies - Beadie and Bodie - give me the most curious stares two little dogs can muster. As for Abby, she was splashing and laughing the entire time, as content as a five-month-old baby can be.
Eventually, we made it out of the tub, and Abby was dried off and dressed. Although, within seconds, she was no longer wearing her socks, meaning shoes became a necessity, and we were off to the pond with Abby strapped into the reverse-backpack baby carrier, only an hour after I thought that we would be.
Sure enough, less than five minutes into our trip, a gentleman was kind enough to tap me on the shoulder and pass me a wayward shoe, but that proved to be the only time.
All that work to get ready, and we stayed for less than half an hour before chilly weather sent us back home. But, while we were there, it was a lot of fun for both of us, with Abby kicking her feet, smiling and laughing the entire time - especially at the giant fish.
We made it back home just in time for Abby to take a well-deserved nap after such an exciting morning, and for me to get ready for the next part of the day: a trip to the races at the season-opening Spring Sizzler at Merrittville Speedway with my step-dad Bill, my father-in-law Rob, Grandpa Pollard and my brother Matt.
But, it seems like no matter where I am, since becoming a father, my little girl is never too far away. When I was speaking with Patriot Sprint Tour Regional Director Mike Emhof, I mentioned that there is a five-month old girl at my house, and by next year, she may well be the rambunctious little girl at my side at this event. He responded by beaming that he has a seven-month old granddaughter, and knows the feeling.
Hopefully by then it won’t take us an hour to get ready to leave the house. But I’ll know better than to ever underestimate my little girl again.