Saturday, June 18, 2016

Happy Birthday to My Goddaughter

"Where there is love there is life."

Mahatma Gandhi

Today is my goddaughter Nikki's birthday.

I never married, never had children of my own. I always figured my life was pretty complete as it was.

Until Nikki was born and her parents asked me to be her godfather. That was when I realized just how wrong I was.

In truth, I haven't seen her often. The last time I saw her she was probably 2 or 3 years old. Now she's a mom, with a son who just turned 9 and a daughter who had her first birthday earlier this year (the picture at the top of this post is of Nikki holding Molly shortly after Molly was born).

And I understand now what my parents and grandparents meant when they spoke of how time flies. Where has the time gone?

It was when Randy and Tammy asked me to be Nikki's godfather that I truly understood the meaning of love. I'm not speaking of love in the sense of two sets of glands with tunnelvision for each other and their bodies colliding with the furniture. We all went through that when we were teenagers, right?

No, I'm speaking of the love that parents must feel for their children. I think the best description of that emotion I ever heard was given by Kelsey Grammer on the Frasier show. His producer Roz (Peri Gilpin) had just found out she was pregnant and was freaking out about the responsibility of it all. Frasier told her, "You don't just love your children. You fall in love with them." He told Roz that he didn't know that until he became a parent, but I am proof that you don't have to be a biological parent to feel that.

As I say, I haven't experienced parenthood firsthand, but I know I am capable of feeling what Frasier was talking about — because I have felt it ever since Nikki was born and I became her godfather.

I keep up with her mainly through Facebook these days — although there was a time when I was in the hospital, and after I came home, she sent me an email almost every day. That meant a lot to me then, and it means a lot to me now.

And it made me regret the fact that I missed so much of her life. It couldn't be helped, really. We lived in different states, and I made the mistake of picking a profession that didn't pay very well so I never could afford to visit.

That doesn't keep me from regretting all the things I missed, all the milestones in her life, all the birthdays.

I don't know if I have much wisdom to share, but still I wish I could have been there to at least try to answer her questions as she was figuring things out.

She seems to have figured a lot of things out without much help from me.

And she seems to be doing a great job raising her kids. I always knew she would.

Happy birthday, Nikki. You make me proud every day.

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