HARNER: First year as a parent goes by too fast

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By Andrew Harner

It’ll go fast, they said.

Enjoy her while she’s young, they said.

They’re only little once, they said.

Turns out, they were right.

Every last one of them.

Last Friday, my daughter, Miranda, celebrated her first birthday by pulverizing a delicious cake, and while it seems like just weeks ago that she was a fragile 5-pounder, the truth is, she is now a jabbering 1-year-old, who

I’m sure will start running around the house any day now.

I’ve learned a lot. I’ve changed a lot. Heck, I’ve even cried a lot.

But that’s OK, because at its base, isn’t that what parenting is all about – learning, changing and crying?

You learn the value of quiet when you discover your daughter doesn’t nap – seriously, if we get 15 minutes of quiet twice a day, we’re ecstatic.

You learn that an infant’s internal alarm clock is sure to sound much earlier than you want it to on the weekends, only to discover that morning play time is far more valuable than an extra hour of sleep.

You learn that you are a jungle gym and a drum – and you like it.

You learn children inspire – using tiny fingers to discover every inch of every tangible object in reach and finding interest in the mundane, while we big people pine over the insignificant.

You learn that being a parent is scary, complicated and wonderful all at the same time.

You change the TV from sports highlights to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Sophia The First.

You change your home into a safe haven, equipped with all the gates, drawer stops and outlet covers you can find – yet she still scatters the Disney VHS tapes when you leave the room.

You change your clothes when you toss her into the air too many times too soon after she finishes eating – and then you learn from your mistake.

You change your priorities, because if you really want to continue playing fantasy baseball, you stay up an extra 10 minutes to figure your lineup rather than wasting 10 valuable minutes while your child is awake.

You change because it’s not just about you and your wife anymore.

You cry when you discover that a skull cap isn’t nearly as fashionable when it’s medical gauze wrapped around the surgical incision that cured your 4-month-old’s hydrocephalus.

You cry on the day she first says, “Da Da.”

You cry because she’s your little MJ, but soon, you know she won’t be so little.