We stumbled upon Joy for our daughter’s middle name, but now three years in it almost seems providential. Whenever I think about how hard parenting is, how infinitely more unmanageable the decisions and social pressures make it feel, all I have to do is spend a morning or afternoon with Reagan and it all fades away. And it’s so much more effective when I fully focus on the moment, just me and her, and let everything else just exist in its proper space away from us.
Relationships are hard and, undoubtedly, Reagan and I will endure our fair share of struggles. Long ago I gave up on a simple, straight line of happiness. But through the fog of the disagreements, misunderstandings, and inevitable low points, I see a forever relationship, a daughter who, I hope, knows that I will always be here, will always do everything and anything I can to see her crack that wry grin or belt out that loud cackle; to see her tilt her head up with a big smile on her face and say “silly daddy”. That, to me, is joy.