Monday, December 2, 2013

December 2: Almost Teenage Daughter, Feeling Old, Magic 8-Ball

In three days' time, I will be the father of a teenager.  My daughter will officially turn 13 on December 5.  In a way, I've been the father of a teenager for over a year.  I've been victim to my daughter's mood swings, eye rolling, sighs, and secrecy since she turned twelve.  I'm getting used to my little girl not being my little girl any more.

The impending official date of teenhood makes me feel quite old.  I know parents say this all the time, but it really does seem like last year when we brought her home from the hospital on that cold, snowy December day.  I don't know where all the time has gone.

I found myself last night standing by her bed in the middle of the night, the way I used to stand by her crib.  I watched her sleep, listened to her deep breaths.  I reached down and pulled the covers up on her.  I thought about how I used to read to her at night.  When she was four going on five, I read her Charlotte's Web.  Each night, we spent one chapter with Wilbur and gang.  She loved that book.  I loved reading her that book.

Now, at night, she sits on the couch and watches videos on her iPod.  When I suggest that she pick up a book, she gives me a pained expression, as if I've just offered her a plate of sauerkraut.  My little girl is in that teenager somewhere, but she seems a little lost to me at the moment.  There are moments when my little princess breaks through, like sunlight through a thundercloud.  Moments when we share a joke, walk hand-in-hand for a few feet, sing a song together on the radio.  But those moments are scarce.

My question this Magic 8-Ball Monday is simple:

Have I been a good father to my little girl?

And Holden's answer is:

"She's a dancer," I said.  "Ballet and all.  She used to practice about two hours every day, right in the middle of the hottest weather and all..."

Holden might be talking about Jane, but he might as well be describing about my daughter, too.  Ever since she was little, my daughter's dreamed of being a ballerina.  Last year, she got en pointe for the first time.  When I bought her first pointe shoes last fall, she held them like a doll in the car.  She slept with them on her feet the first few nights.  She was a ballerina.  Her dream.  She'd done it.

I guess I'll take that as a "yes" to my question.

Saint Marty hasn't screwed up fatherhood too much.

Dreams do come true...

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