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Life Really Is Short: Cherishing My Special Daddy Days

April 18, 2011 by Bill Strong
The reality and gravity of Gwendolyn's SMA diagnosis three years ago has completely turned my personal balance sheet on its head. Things that used to be important, aren't so much any more. Priorities have shifted. Focus has become much more micro and patience for nearly everything outside of my immediate family and friends runs thin. And while I'd like to convince myself that I've always "lived life to the fullest" and had a "life is short" attitude, learning that I'd lose my daughter to a disease I'd never heard of before changed these banal sayings from soundbite-smalltalk-isms to daily mantras. They have kept me focused on what I can control and not allow what I can't control take over our life. And they are a constant reminder to cherish the time I have with Gwendolyn while she is still here with me. To challenge myself to give her -- to give us -- every life experience possible -- even when it isn't easy, even when it seems impossible, even when I'm scared. Because if I don't do it today, if I don't find that way, there will come a day when I can't. And I never want to wake up and wish I had.

Every day with Gwendolyn -- actually every second with Gwendolyn -- is special to me. A gift. From the moment she was born we've had a very special bond and I love our time together. Frequently, I take Gwendolyn for special"Daddy Days" -- just the two of us. I always look forward to them and I always try and make them fun and adventurous.

Last weekend we had an awesome and unplanned "Daddy Day". Some normal stuff. Some special stuff. All awesome stuff. A walk to the park. Tons of squealing on the swings and an adamant "GAH!" to the question -- "Higher? Higher? Higher!?!?" Coffee and a muffin, holding hands, sitting and "chatting" at our favorite local coffee shop. Saying "hi" to the bronze dolphin statue downtown that reminds us of "Crunch". Turtle watching. A nap. A trip to the car wash to give her minivan a "bath". Picking out books at the bookstore. And finally, the zoo.

It was awesome. Plain awesome. Not necessarily overly extravagant. Just Gwendolyn and me having a blast. Just the way it should be. She loved it and I loved it and it was just plain special. And I can't wait for our next "Daddy Day" adventure!

Talk About It

Bill, you are such a gifted writer. How well you put into words the feelings of an SMA parent. Hayden loves her Daddy moments. To her there is never enough. Thank you to sweet Gwendolyn and your family for being such great inspirations to us!
Posted by Jennifer Calafiore on 2011-04-18 10:38:19
Your words inspire me, your photos bring me to tears nearly everytime I see them. Gwendolyn is such an incredible little lady. Your relationship with her is even more incredible..... She's grabbed my heart and ran away with it, I can't even imagine how in love you are with her seeing her everyday. Thank you for being the positive, transparent family that you are. You help so many with your raw feelings... Hugs
Posted by Penny on 2011-04-18 10:49:05
Thank you for sharing your special times with Gwendolyn,with all of us.Thank you for sharing your heart,filled with it's fears and it's joys.So unselfish of you.Never has had to be that way,but through that sharing, we all are blessed and better because of it.Love to you all.
Posted by Zoey's mom on 2011-04-18 17:06:51
Very well said Bill, your words truly speak volumes. Miss G is beyond lucky to have your for her Daddy and Victoria for her Mommy----love all that you share!! And yes, sometimes it is just those "little" things that continue to give us strength and smiles!! be well, Lisa smile
Posted by lisa prokopetz on 2011-04-18 21:11:53
Gwendolyn is one lucky little girl to have such a great dad like you! And you are so, so lucky to have her.
Posted by Jessica on 2011-04-18 22:07:59
God bless you and your family Bill. Gwendolyn's so lucky to have you and Victoria.
Posted by Jhari on 2011-04-21 20:00:41

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