Six years ago when we were first pregnant, people were full of advice. But one thing I heard over and over was how fast it will pass. “Blink,” they would say, “and you’ll be walking her down the aisle.” Then we’d all nod knowingly. Well, they were knowing. Me? I just nodded.
Well, being older than most soon-to-be-fathers, means I have older friends – friends who have already experienced parenthood and have now moved onto the empty-nest phase of parenting. My friends with this advice knew of which they spoke. I just pretended that I knew what they were talking about. But as the last five years have slipped by, I’ve started to grasp the reality of how much time passes during a blink.
My little sweetheart is turning into a little lady; and it’s scaring the Hell out of me.
The other day, she jumped out of some nook and tried to startle me. We’ve repeated this scenario several times in the past week:
“Did I scare you Dad!?” She eagerly asked.
“You terrify me,” I replied with a smile.
Of course she has no idea what I’m talking about – and to be honest, I’m not sure how terrified I am either. I keep nodding and acknowledging the velocity of our shared lives, but with every step, I feel like I’m the one trying to keep up. This Darling Daughter of mine is amazing.
A day or two ago, she kept messing with something in her mouth. I asked her what was wrong and she explained that her tooth was lose. I couldn’t believe it. How could this be? Of course it’s an important right of passage for any kid, but I’m not ready for her to grow up yet. I’m not ready for her to lose her childish innocence; and her childish beauty.
She loves dates with her Daddy!
I took her with me to run some errands this afternoon. We had an amazingly good time. Of course, we always do. I’m rarely in a hurry when I bring the kids along – it doesn’t do any good, and being in a hurry only creates expectations and disappointments and tears. Kids are never in a hurry either and my five year-old is no exception. She loves to discover and explore. She loves dates with her Daddy!
First, she loved the special attention of being alone with Daddy. She didn’t have to share me with her little brother or her Mom. I think she talked and giggled for the first hour we were together. Once we got to the first store, she began to explore and discover lots of new things. It was fun watching her soul being filled with new things.
Our second stop was at Lowe’s. She jumped, she skipped, she ran, she chased me, she ran to the ends of the aisles, and she loved to explore. Her heart, like mine, is fed by new sights and experiences. She was having a blast!
Our third stop was Fred Meyer. I promised her we’d get a Mother’s Day card there. While we were looking for cards, she noticed a little girl, who also had braids, shopping with her mom. She mentioned the other girl’s braids, then turned and flipped hers towards the older girl in the shopping cart. The two established an instant bond, and after the other girl climbed down from the cart, they laughed and played like long last friends. (She gets this social prowess from her mother – not me.)
As we walked out of the store, I looked down and told her how glad I was that she came with me today. Instinctively, she put her hand in mind, and without looking, she said, “I’m glad I came with you too Daddy.” And we walked out of the store hand-in-hand.
Sometimes I want to put her in a jar and keep her just like she is; and other times I can’t wait to see her next major accomplishment. A couple of weeks ago, she was learning to swim, a couple of days ago she took a dive from the floor and performed a well-executed somersault across the bed. Today, she performed a head-stand for about one and a half seconds.
As we sat down at the table for dinner, she was still bubbly from a great afternoon. She looked at me and said in the most serious voice she could muster, “Dad? The sky is purple.” And then she gave me a big wink, just like I taught her – to let me know she was teasing. That’s my girl!
Blink and you’ll miss me. Yes, life really is that short.” ~Tia Carr Williams
What will it be tomorrow? I’m afraid to find out. I’m not sure I can keep up. But at the same time, I’m excited. Excited, terrified, awestruck, and amazed. I suppose this is what parenting is all about. And yet, I’m beginning to understand those knowing nods of advice my friends shared with me just a few years ago.
I’ve been given a gift – and I’ve never been more blessed.