Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Birthday Girl

Today is Jessi's birthday!  That's her on the left; I stole the photo from her Facebook page.  Me so naughty.  She inherited my wanderlust, so we keep talking about a future trip abroad.   When schedule and finances permit, I want to take her with me to Istanbul and Capetown.  The former destination will be easier than the latter.  A Turkish friend of ours has connections in Turkey and my wife and I visited Istanbul nearly two years ago.  South Africa will be brand new territory, but at least they speak English there!  She surprised me last year during our trip to Tokyo.  When I visit a place I like to do a lot of walking.  She kept pace with me and hardly complained.  Our dirty little secret is that we ate nearly half the time at McDonald's and Starbucks, but in our defense we're just not seafood people.

I remember her well as a little baby girl in Germany nearly sixteen years ago when I was working on my dissertation.  We lived in a house in the country south of Augsburg; on a nice clear day, which Germans refer to as Föhn, we could see the Alps in the distance.   I vividly recall her standing on the window sill of the dining room and crying for me as I would pass by on my way to the train station.  Now she's sixteen.  My, my, how the time flies.  She has a strong sense of self, I think, and I hope she waits to find a good man, someone humble and modest who like her has a strong sense of self and is not given to bravado and the tooting of his own horn.  Hopefully, she'll be able to spot that crap a mile away.  I know I'm about to sound like an old man, but what the hell!   A good young man is getting harder and harder to find in this day and age.

We share a love for horror movies and the Hitchcock classics, to a certain extent anyway.  I feel bad for the nightmares she's had in the past; you put a clown or doll in a movie and it's gonna freak her out (me too, but I love it!).  I've shown her the opening "Iraq" segment of The Exorcist, but that's as far as I'll go.  She's not yet ready for The Ring.  I would be amiss as a father not to mention the obvious stuff: she gets good grades and is very athletic.  I'm so proud of her.  But I what want most of all is for her to grow up a Mensch.  You know what I'm saying?  To be kind and considerate of others.  To be concerned for the outcast.  To take the road less travelled when it's the right thing to do.  I feel like Darth Vader, for I already sense that the force is strong in herthe good force.  She might be popular and the life of the party, but she has a kind heart.  What more could I want?  She's still the little girl who was crying for me on my way to the train station.  She's sixteen years older now and starting to figure out that I'm not normal.  Thankfully, and to her credit, she's cool with that.