My wife and I are expecting ... a 90-pound bouncing baby 12-year-old girl (though don't tell her I called her a baby or revealed her weight -- it's a guess anyway).
My daughter, whom we'll call "Olivia" because that's her name, is coming to live with us at some point between the end of this school year and the beginning of the next.
It's something I've wanted since her mother and I split when she was 4. Though she spends half her vacations and every other weekend with me, Olivia has wanted to be here full time with her 11- and 5-year-old sisters for a while. And like a lot of fathers, I kind of like my kid.
But you know what they say about being careful what you wish for.
After months negotiating the details of the transaction with her mother (I offered draft picks and a child to be named later), I started thinking about what having my daughter back full time would entail. And I see challenges headed my way.
First of all, do you ever get something new and realize you're not sure where to put it? The older girls have slept in bunk beds for years and have grown to really hate it. They've learned about this "personal space" thing. It's not the beds as much as it is sharing a room. But we only have three bedrooms, and the 5-year-old gets her own because she's still cute.
So we have space issues that we're looking to resolve. That's code for "Tony has to get his finances in order so we can buy a bigger house." (Some of my neighbors just read that and are uncorking that bottle of champagne they've been saving for a special occasion.) I don't know if we'll have this resolved before September, but we're trying.
We'll also have issues with Daddy's patience. Three charged-up and unique young personalities unafraid to express themselves verbally or, occasionally, by throwing something and/or slamming a door, can be difficult to deal with just a few days a month. Managing the chaos full time will require my wife and me to make some life changes -- meditation, therapy, powerful mood-altering prescriptions -- I don't know. I do know it's about to get a lot louder around here.
Throw into the mix that the two older girls are going through ... changes ... and I may start having to buy Advil in bulk.
Her presence also means one more person to keep my wife and me from ever having any time for just the two of us. Which is OK -- I've already conceded that's not going to happen for years. I just pray my wife continues to let me live here until then.
The flip side to the scenario is that my daughter, as my businesswoman wife points out, is added value (I fled the room before she got out the spreadsheets).
Olivia is very good with the 5-year-old, the one her 11-year-old sister still hasn't even acknowledged has been born. She's very helpful around the house. My wife and I cleaned the garage a couple weeks ago and were startled when Olivia just walked in and started helping like she was a real human being or something.
As she gets older, she becomes better company for her Dad, because there's more to talk about -- and this kid can talk. And as a very active girl, she likes to force her sisters to put down the smart Droid-iPhone-iPod-Kindle things and go out to play. Which is good for everyone.
And best of all, I'll get to see her about seven times as often as I do now, making about seven times as many memories. That outweighs the increased craziness any day.