You Smell Like Daddy

Portrait of a sleeping cub

I carried her downstairs and put her to bed tonight all the while wondering if this would be the last time.

My little girl is 8 and though I am still capable of carrying objects that are much heavier than she is I can hear the tick tock of the clock ticking away. For better or for worse it is clear that these days are numbered.

Part of me is thrilled because every age brings new and exciting experiences and adventures. She loves her new school and raves about her teacher. These are things that soothe my soul and ease my heart.

You see my girl is joy incarnate and when she smiles there is a light that shines from behind her eyes and permeates her entire being. She shares this with her brother and it is among their finest traits.


Tonight I picked her up off of the couch and almost dropped her. When she went airborne she twitched in surprise. She has done this her entire life but now she is big enough to cause a bit of strain on my part.

When she was truly little I could carry her like a football and never notice her weight, but like I said those days are past. And for the sake of her future feelings she is not heavy now. The doc gave her a clean bill of health at her last physical and noted that she is clearly athletic.

No, the deal now is tied into trying to support more than four feet of girl. But I was prepared for the twitch, dad wasn’t going to drop his girl.


A thousand years ago I carried my sleeping niece and shared the story of how she woke up momentarily and said, “you don’t smell like daddy.”

My little girl brought that moment back to me tonight but this time it was different. That is because she put her head on shoulder and muttered, “I am tired daddy.” Had she been awake and asked me for the credit card she would have gotten whatever her heart desired.

Instead I stood next to her bed, closed my eyes and wondered who she is going to become. Closed my eyes and pictured the girl who is sometimes grumpy in the mornings and then saw her running on the soccer field, pony tail bouncing and eyes focused on the ball.

This little girl is determined to make me lose my hair and to drive me crazy. She is a daredevil who has no fear. When she is angry lightning flashes in her eyes, but my lord she has such a sweet side to her.

I just wish that she wasn’t in such a hurry to grow up. I will always love and support her but I am going to miss these days.

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  1. Seattledad August 22, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Awww….I really dread the day I can’t carry Lukas anymore. I have for quite a while now. He is already getting so big and each time I do it seems like the clock is ticking. Great read Jack.

    • The JackB August 23, 2012 at 12:04 am

      Hi James,

      My son weighs a little more than 80 pounds now. I work out with more than that so the weight isn’t a problem, but the arms and legs that hang every which way are.

      But he is almost never so tired that I have to carry him anymore. If he goes to sleep in the car he almost always wakes up when we stop.

      And he doesn’t want to be carried, which is probably a good thing but sometimes it feels bit surreal.

  2. Absence of alternatives August 22, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Ah…dads and their little girls. I pray that your daughter will not commit the sin that I did: moved away 3 0 0 0 miles and only visits once a year. It broke my heart when I went home this time and saw my dad…. I break his heart every time, over and over again.

    • The JackB August 23, 2012 at 12:02 am

      One of my sisters moved and I have spent years watching that same scene you describe play itself out. My folks have gotten used to it, but every now and then I see their faces and I know they just aren’t happy about it.

      You are a mom, you get it. But at the same time we all have to do what is right for us too.

  3. Hajra August 22, 2012 at 11:56 am

    It would have been a good time for her to ask for that phone she wants! 😉

    When I was young my dad worked overseas for a couple of years and it broke my heart to say goodbye. Once he was home for holidays and I told him that I like the smell of him in the house. Why did we grow up…

  4. Adrienne August 22, 2012 at 11:48 am

    I can only imagine those moments Jack. Never having children of my own, I have watched my nieces and nephews grow up in front of me when just yesterday they were still so very young. Darn it that we all have to grow up so fast.

    • The JackB August 22, 2012 at 11:59 pm

      Hi Adrienne,

      They really do grow up fast. One day they are just little people and the next they aren’t so little. I don’t have much time before puberty starts to knock on my son’s door and I can only imagine what that might be like. Time moves too quickly.

  5. Bill Dorman August 22, 2012 at 10:46 am

    If we could just bottle those moments, huh? I remember when my youngest son would still get in the chair with me to watch TV even though he was getting some size to him; I didn’t want him to stop wanting to get in the chair regardless of how big he got.

    • The JackB August 22, 2012 at 11:58 pm

      Yeah, my guy is starting to reach a point where sitting with me is a bit more challenging. Arms and legs are starting to get a bit bony and it is not so comfortable, but I most times I don’t say no.

      Won’t be long before he won’t do it anymore so I figure I’ll just soak it up and enjoy.

  6. thedoseofreality August 22, 2012 at 7:07 am

    As someone who sent her big girl to 3rd grade and her “baby” to big school for the first time, this totally made me cry. So beautiful.

    • The JackB August 22, 2012 at 11:56 pm

      Thank you. My youngest is in third grade now. It is hard to believe, but it is a hell of a lot of fun. I keep saying it, but that is because every day they make me smile.

  7. Andrea August 22, 2012 at 7:01 am

    Well. There you go. I’m near tears. My own little one is nearly my height at this point. Okay, not really but I’m short and she’s growing – so soon. She starts K next week and wow, growing up is hard as a parent. Seriously. Hugs to you. Thanks for sharing such intimate moments with us.

    • The JackB August 22, 2012 at 10:26 am

      Kindergarten is a great age. It is so much fun watching their faces when they learn how to read to us. It is hard to watch them grow so quickly, but there are some highlights that come with it.

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