Thursday, February 19, 2015

Happy Birthday, Madison!

Tomorrow my first daughter, Madison, turns nine. Following is what I wrote to her five years ago when she turned four.

Visit again tomorrow. I will have another post about my amazing daughter.

Ode to Madison


Four years ago my life changed dramatically. Profoundly. I wouldn’t have it any other way. If anything, it showed me how big my heart actually was. When my daughter, Madison Paige was born, I fell in love in a way I could have never previously fathomed. The moment from seeing the miracle of birth, to watching the nurses clean her off and finally holding her, was surreal and dream-like. With a new-found respect for mothers and a brand new love in my heart, I had become a father. We had become a family…one of the most important and amazing gifts God could possibly provide.


Being sure Madison came into the world knowing who the greatest rock band of all time was, I played her first song. Our song. A beautiful ballad by U2. Sung with heart and poetry by Bono, the song Original of the Species, one of the greatest ballads ever written, played softly as I held her. Little did I know how true the lyrics would ring true.

“Baby, slow down…please stay a child somewhere in your heart,” are some of the most beautiful lyrics by one of the most poetic and prolific songwriters in the history of music. It was and still is the perfect song. Every time I play it I remind her it was the first song I played for her. Whether or not she continues to enjoy listening to Bono when she’s older is, of course, up to her. But I know that song, our first musical connection outside the womb, will always remain special to her.

The title rang true immediately. Madison was an original species. She was my first and would be my only until the spitfire Bailey Grace would come along two years later. The lyrics took longer to ring true, but not much longer. As I sit here writing this I am in shock, in complete befuddlement over the fact that my girl is already four. I look at her and I think about all the father/daughter phases, routines and fun we have had with each other and I just want to push down on her head and make her small again. I know all-to-well the ultimate outcome. I’ll be proud of that outcome because I know she’ll grow to be an outstanding woman full of class and a good heart. She has good role models for that, especially her mother.

I have given over 700 baths, taken hundreds of walks, taught her to pray and be thankful for family, taught her about eight state capitals when she was two, among numerous of other things. None of that compares to what she has taught me about myself and how to be a better father.

I strive every day to become a better father. I have my downfalls as an individual and some of them creep into my fatherhood. But knowing how fragile my daughters are in this stage of development and knowing first hand that negative experiences from childhood can unfortunately outshine the better ones, it makes me want to try even harder to make sure the life I give to my daughters is a memorable one.

Madison, you are the personification of the brightest sunlight and I am eternally grateful that God has given you to me. Happy Birthday, Madison! I love and adore you. Forever and Always, Daddy.

*Originally Written on February 20, 2010.

1 comment:

Deanna Johnson said...

Ryan,

Wow!!! I truly enjoyed reading this wonderful and God felt story about Madison!! I see you Monday-Friday at the Forest and you are not just a GREAT father...You are GREAT Teacher and Friend!!! God Bless you and your beautiful family.