Imaginary conversation between my daughter and me, a few hours after she is born:

Me: Hey! How’s it going over there in the isolette?

MissZero: I am wrapped like a burrito and have silver nitrate jammed in my eyes and have this hard plastic thing clamping the place where my umbilical cord was CUT OFF. How do you think I’m doing, dummy?

Me: Oh, I hear ya. I just had a giant screaming burrito come out of my lady place. Tough day, huh?

MissZero: Well, it can’t get any worse, that’s my thinking.

Me: HA HA! No, honey, it’s gonna get worse. I am sorry. This will seem like a spa visit in comparison.

MissZero: You’re a monster.

Me: Yeah. Sorry. People Like To Have Children, despite knowing this.

MissZero: Well, shiiiit. (sighs newborn sigh) Anything I can do about it?

Me: Not really. Everyone who is out there in the world is going to get multiple major hits. Not everybody is going to love you, or like you, or even not hate you.

MissZero: Damn. Why?

Me: Oh, there’s lots of reasons. Usually it doesn’t have much or anything to do with you, though. You know that scene in “Good Will Hunting” where Robin Williams keeps repeating “It’s not your fault” to Matt Damon?

MissZero: Um, NO.

Me: Oh, riiight. You’re new here. Well, the gist of that movie and what I am saying too is that you don’t have control over other people’s actions sometimes, they aren’t going to treat you as they should, but unless you are Aileen Wuornos or something, it wasn’t anything you should think you caused just by you being you. You just gotta accept that and move on.

MissZero: How can I move on? I’m wrapped so tightly in this ratty hospital blankie I can’t even think.

Me: Oh, don’t worry. You’ll get your freedom. And I was speaking more metaphorically, anyway, although sometimes moving on does mean like physically getting up and walking or something.

MissZero: Just letting you know in advance: I am going to walk at 10 months. Start baby-proofing all your shit right now.

Me: Thanks punkin. Good to know.

MissZero: Can I just live in your basement and avoid all this crap?

Me: No. When you are 18 I am going to kick you out and turn the basement into an awesome music studio.

MissZero: Good to know.

Me: Most of your life is going to be great, sweetie. I promise. The world is full of cool and wondrous stuff, and you will have many, many people who will think you are the bee’s knees.

MissZero: Please don’t confuse me with 1920’s slang terms.

Me: Noted. I’m just saying, if you are out there getting the good stuff, sometimes you are going to get bad stuff, and sometimes it is going to be bad enough to make you think everything is bad. It’s called “global thinking.”

MissZero: “Global thinking” makes me think that I could use some of that nice fresh breast milk about now.

Me: Just hang in here with me for a minute and let me finish my point, barnacle. Good stuff, bad stuff – what matters is how you handle it, your actions, the grace you can show while at the same time not being a doormat. You just need to know that you are cool, ‘cause you sure are. Don’t let the rough stuff take you down too far. Keep moving.

MissZero: Noted. Let’s do lunch.

Me: Oh, alright. Left or right side first?

MissZero: I kinda dig the right one,myself. By the way, I’m going to breastfeed for another 14 months.

Me: Good to know. Let me get the TV remote and a pillow.

MissZero: Love ya, you cow.

Me: I love you too, sucker.