Thursday, October 19, 2006

Accepted

As I've gotten older, I feel I've gotten more comfortable with myself.
In your teens and twenties, you want people to like you, sometimes to
the point that you act the way you think will make people like you
rather than the way you really are. When you're first starting out in
your career, you're trying so hard to please everybody that you often
stifle your own opinions, your own personality, your own strengths and
weaknesses.

I'm not so old and crusty that I don't care at all what other people
think of me, and I'm not so cavalier and hardened that I say "to hell
with you all" and just say and do whatever I feel like. But I think
I've gotten comfortable enough with myself to know who I am, what I'm
good at, and what I'm not so good at. And I'm secure enough to say
and do what I think is right, whether or not that means people will
like me or not. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I've reached
the point in my life when it doesn't matter as much to me if people
like me as much as they respect me.

All of that to say (how's that for a long-winded intro?) that there's
something awfully satisfying about coming home to a child whose face
lights up when she sees you. Sometimes Jada's in her high chair when
I come waltzing into the kitchen, and she'll beam her smile at me and
kick her feet in excitement. Other times, she'll run down the hallway
to greet me at the front door. Still other times, she and Amy are
coming home from the playground, and she'll race up the sidewalk as I
race down to meet her.

Oh sure, there are days now and in the future when I will need to say
and do things that will cause Jada to not like me. I'm OK with that.
But that doesn't negate the fact that it feels good to be loved and
accepted by your daughter. It's hard to think of a better time of any
weekday than the moment we're reunited after being apart for the day.
It makes me smile just thinking about it.

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