By Patrick Murphy

You better sit down for this one.

I am about to have a 30-year-old daughter.

I know what you’re thinking. How can someone so young looking and man-pretty have a daughter turning 30?

I agree but it’s true, Claire will celebrate her 30th May 6 at Disney World. Hard to beat that for a party venue.

What started out as Claire and her husband, Trent, celebrating her 30th at the happiest place on earth, evolved into another family vacation to the land of Mickey Mouse. The only difference is after five trips to Disneyland in California, we are making our first trip to Florida and Disney World.

My son Alek, and his wife, Anna will be joining us for this adventure.

May is kind of a big month in the family. Claire, Trent and Anna have birthdays, and my wife, Kelly, and I spent our 34th wedding anniversary flying to Disney World on May 2.

Claire reaching a milestone age is one of the few times I actually think of my own age, and how the numbers keep climbing. I’ll be 59 next month.

Claire is looking forward to her 30th, which is one of the things she shares with me. I don’t hate getting older — that should be everyone’s goal, right, a long, healthy life.

I remember bringing home this precious little girl from the hospital, and like most dads, I was excited and proud, and felt overwhelmed having this little life to help care for.

Soon she became my constant companion. We lived in David City at the time,

and Kelly worked at the hospital, and I was at the newspaper.

Being at a weekly paper means there are all sorts of events and happenings to cover, and when Kelly as working it was me and Claire. After Alek was born it was the three of us, but for about two years if I went to a community event, Claire was with me. If I covered a volleyball game, Claire was with me. If I covered a community celebration, Claire was with me.

About the only thing she didn’t take in were football games and meetings, everything else, I packed up Claire, my camera bag and off we went.

I loved it. I got to show off my little girl.

Over the years, as she grew, we became concert buddies. She grew up with the same love of music I have, and we have traveled to many concerts over the years as I introduced her to Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne and Tom Petty.

Despite her impending birthday, nothing has changed. She’s still my little girl who I nicknamed Claire-e shortly after she was born, and I am even more proud of the woman she’s grown into.

She’s smart, a talented graphic artist, business owner, socially and politically aware and reminds mom and dad to eat better and exercise. 

She has grown up.

The young girl and teenager whose bedroom carpet never needed cleaning because it was covered by her clothes she threw on the floor, now doesn’t want people to come over to her house if it’s messy.

Kids - they do grow up and become their own people, and, as a parent, you are left marveling how quickly time flew past.

Now she is about to turn 30, and that seems like it snuck up on me.

So happy birthday Claire-e, enjoy your big day at Disney World, and thank you for making every time we were together the happiest place on earth for me.

Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor at The Telegram.