She is nine years-old going on 30 something now and if ever there were a force of nature it would be her.
Wednesday morning she climbed onto my lap, wrapped her arms around my neck and told me that if I stayed she would give me a thousand more hugs.
I hugged her back and told her to remember I am never far away and that I am always proud of her.
What Kind Of Games Can You Play With Girls?
This parenting gig is hard, really hard, but so damn rewarding. I haven’t any regrets about it. Hell, in many ways it is the foundation and cornerstone of this blog.
Flip through the pages and you’ll find all sorts of stories about the kids including one from when my son first learned how to read.
He was answering nature’s call in a public restroom when he started reading the grafitti on the wall. He came across anÂ adÂ for Julie.
I remember him sounding it out, “for a good time call Julie.”
He told me we should call and I said I didn’t think it was a good idea. He encouraged me to do it because he thought she might know some good games to play.
Almost eight years later he is starting to think about girls differently than he did then. Sometimes he’ll ask me what kind of games can you play with girls, but that is code.
Time Moves Too Quickly
Tuesday night we went out to celebrate her 9th birthday and I watched her move confidently through the restaurant and pull out her own chair.
She didn’t want help, but it wasn’t like when she was a toddler and had to do everything herself. This was a different girl.
This girl pored over the menu and carefully asked the waiter for clarification on a couple of things. I watched and for a moment I could see hints of someone much older.
And then I watched her brush her hair out of her face and remembered the little girl who she used to be, the one who fit inside the crook of my arm and would gently snore in my ear.
That still happens from time to time, but not like it used to. When she is tired now she is perfectly happy to go to bed.
They’re Big Now
There was a moment Sunday night where she and her brother both tried to sit on my lap at the same time. They pretended to fight over me and I tried not to grown too much as knees and elbows slammed into various parts of my anatomy.
And then I remembered when I could carry one in each arm and decided to do so again.
I stood up and held them both. They both laughed and squirmed and then I threatened to drop them, except it wasn’t really a threat.
It was more of a silent promise.
They are too big for me to carry like that for long. I can deal with the weight, but their arms, legs and bodies have gotten to be too long and that makes the weight distribution…awkward.
And at 44 I haven’t had back problems because I exercise and because I am careful.
But I was concerned about the squirming.
The Choices We Make
Yesterday afternoon I said goodbye and drove to the airport. It wasn’t easy but it had to be done. For now work is in a different city and a different state than they are.
I sat down in my seat, put on my headphones and closed my eyes. I thought about business trips I took when they were infants and toddlers and remembered how I worried about them learning how to walk and or talk when I was gone.
This time was different because I knew I would miss other parts and pieces but I did it because I think ultimately it will lead to a better life for all of us.
I have never missed a major event in their lives and G-d willing I won’t, but sometimes we look at the choices we make and hope for the best because you can’t always see the future.
“Daddy, you have too much hair in your arm pits. If you cut it off you can use it to fill in the gaps on your head.”
The smile she flashed my way made it clear she knew exactly what she was doing.
“I love you daddy. I will see you soon.”
I told her I loved her too and as I closed my eyes I could see her smile and remembered that is a big part of why we make the choices we make.