Saturday, April 12, 2008


My ten year old daughter, savy, energetic and tuned in has just turned the corner from sweet five year old who adores daddy to pre teen queen for whom daddy is a servant leader. She interrupts my sentences with "I know Dad!" and has ramped up her self definition to include "I'm not going there!" (as in not going to somewhere her mother and I are going).

She spends more time in front of a mirror, takes more care with choice of clothes, hangs out more with friends and is more curious about just about everything. She is, in short, a phenom.

This morning we flared at each other. That's what it was because it wasn't really a fight as much as a flare. Old school daddy doesn't adapt well to this sudden certainty she brings to about everything I talk about. There's some fear here for me. Am I already losing my importance in her life? Will she accelerate her embrace of her own individuality and fly out of our love and our life? Is this all I get of her childhood?

I have to stop, look and listen to get regrounded in what's happening. She is in a developmental swing. Going from the love of gnomes and fairies to the ever expanding world of friends, ideas and experiences - all new, all interesting, all exciting. She has a strong base in her mother's love and guidance and she is sure of my love for her and hers for me. That's not on the screen for her. That it is on the screen for me has a lot more to do with parts of my painful childhood than with anything she does.

She is growing up. I signed up for this. On good days I rejoice in it. This morning I had to find my feet, remember her deep love and acknowledge mine for her. As she was running out the door, backpack over her shoulder, dressed in her green soccer uniform, cleats clanking on the tile she shouted "I love you Papa..." Yeah, me too.

1 comment:

Real Live Preacher said...

Having three daughters, I've been to this place twice and now again. My youngest is 11. It's wonderful, like watching a flower open. And horrible like watching the movie Sybil.

In my first two, there was a kind of dark tunnel. They entered it and the dynamic of pushing against us was so strong. Then they popped out and we were back to being close again.

Well, close with one big exception. She now had her own life somewhere out there with friends and school and all of that. Something hidden.