A Surreal Day of Fatherhood

Today was one of those surreal days for a father. Just before lunch I picked up my nine year old and held her. On my shoulder was her chin. Over my shoulder was a picture on the refrigerator taken more than seven years ago. She may have been almost two. She was making biscuits at my mom’s house. As I held her I realized I could only do so now with her permission. Nine years ago I held her in her helplessness. Now I can only hold her with her help.

When I picked her up I realized she was growing. Am I?

In the afternoon we went to a wedding. I sat on the aisle side of the pew. When the congregation stood in honor of the bride my daughters rushed to my end of the row so they could see her enter. They love brides. There I stood with my five year old holding my right hand and my sandy blonde daughter leaning in as far as she could in front of me. I held them both as I watched the bride, another man’s daughter. When I held my girls and watched the bride I realized my daughters would one day be brides.

They are maturing. Am I?

At the reception Kiley ate fruit. She loves fruit. She ate her fruit and my fruit because she loves fruit. I was talking to a man from our church when my wife’s expression changed to one of shock. Her eyes were fixed on Kiley’s mouth and her hands communicated stunned emotion. Was Kiley choking? I could see only the back of her head and I could not interpret my wife’s signals. Kiley was not chocking. Kiley had lost her first tooth. She ate water melon and at some point she also swallowed a lower incisor. To celebrate we bought her a cookie cake. The baker told my wife that the cookie cake should help Kiley along in the process of losing the rest of her teeth.

Today Kiley lost a tooth. Losing a tooth is a mini-rite of passage. My wife recognized it as such. She loves cookie cake but she is sad because “her baby lost her first tooth.” She said that about five times on the way home from the wedding. She also had Publix write it on the cookie cake. Kids lose teeth because adult ones are emerging.

She is changing. Am I?

Fatherhood is dichotomy. It is the struggle to capture quickly fleeting moments. It is the challenge to prepare for the next. What I hate the most about fatherhood is that there are already so many moments I have forgotten. Hugging my nine year old initiates a slideshow of flashbacks. There are things you remember about them when they were 8 months old, but not many. The most prominent thought is the realization that 8 months old lasted only 30 days, maybe 31. She will only be 9 for 52 weeks. 44 of them are already gone. I wonder what sort of flashbacks the father of the bride saw today. No doubt that each flashback he enjoyed also carried a caption that made him realize that twenty something years only lasts twenty something years.

Girls grow up quickly. At times I fear they are growing much faster than me.


Wow. I will definitely go home this afternoon to hug Marley and Jacob. Three years has gone by faster than I ever could have imagined.

Popular Posts