Note: I wrote this last year when the girl turned 13 but I never hit publish. I don’t remember why. This week, she turned 14.
This dreaded day has come, Li’l Diva.
I’m not kidding myself. It’s the first of many scary moments in my future.
Your first date. Your first heartbreak.
Your first solo outing with the car. Your first prom.
Leaving for college. Moving out.
Marriage. Children of your own.
What happened to all the time in the world we had?
The pretend tea parties that dragged on infinitely. The hours rewatching the three “Blue’s Clues” VHS tapes we owned. The cries of “one more game” when you yet again reached Candy Castle while I wallowed grumpily in Molasses Swamp.
I dreaded each and every one of them.
And I miss them.
Well, I miss the idea of them. It’s that clingy, little daddy’s girl I truly miss.
See, your past is always my present, Li’l Diva, no matter how old you are or how smart you become or how far away you slip from me down the path of independence and adulthood. That’s a trick this parenting gig plays on one’s brain, for better or worse. No matter how old you are or what you accomplish, good or bad, you’ll always be that little girl asking me to lay in bed next to her for just one more minute to protect her from the monsters of the night.
Today, tomorrow, whenever, as then, when you ask for that help, that comfort, I will always say “yes,” no matter what, because that’s what you do when someone takes hold of your life and you never want to let her go.