As time goes on, I realize just what you me to me. -Chicago
It’s been a pretty normal week leading up to the start of a new school year. As normal as can be when one of us is a teenage girl who is changing school districts and jumping into the unknown feet first. As normal as can be when one of us is a middle aged father who is desperately trying to hang on to his little girl and stop time that seems to jump decades every time he blinks. As normal as can be with two houses and two sets of parents with different views.
Friday night rolls around and it is orientation night at Valley, our high school of choice. Orientation will be followed by a lock in at the local YMCA for the whole freshman class. I can tell Syd the Kid is nervous. I know because she is short with me and I don’t mean height. She is also very quiet and doesn’t feel well a combination of nerves and unknown I suspect. I do my best to keep her mind off things while getting ready.
Kitten has arrived home. As we all get ready to go she brings out a gift for Sydney. Jenny had sewn a new comforter for Sydney. One side was royal blue and white with the Hemlock Husky and the other Navy and Gold with the VLHS Charger logo, very cool. First smile of the night and I think it made her relax for a few minutes. Time to go, Jenny asks “What wrong with you?” “my tummy hurts” I reply, damn you nerves.
Orientation goes well, lots of information the children go one way the parents another. We meet up at the end for a final prayer and to say good night to the kids. Sydney is so nervous I don’t get a kiss…I’m ok I understand…I don’t get a hug….uh, but that dad over there got one, and that guy there too….I’m ok, I got this, sigh.
5:45am the next morning. I am not surprised that I am the first parent at the YMCA to pick my daughter up, they get out at 6am. I over planned the time and calculated in some extra traffic I try to convince myself, yeah big dumby lots of traffic at 5am on a Saturday morning (my inner voice of reason is screaming “you got to learn to let go”). 6am here she comes with a tired smile and a “hi Daddy, I get the back seat so I can lay down”. I try to ask and get cut off and we go home. i wanted to hear about the night and know if she had fun or not. Nerves, I need a piece of toast.
11:45 am she has been awake for about 15 minutes. I am busy in the kitchen making her some food so she has the energy to go school shopping today. “Daddy, come here” I am beckoned. “Hold on” I reply “I’m getting you some….” “come here I want to talk to you” she cuts me off. Whoa, here we go. She spent the next half hour or so telling me all the details of the fun and friends she met, the subjects the teacher told them about, the games to meet more friends, the pizza, the swimming, the fight song and more. We talked about being a teenager and a parent and how important these next four years are and how we….gulp….would be growing together. We talked about how she was going to have to learn to be more responsible for her time, work and schedule and how she will need to learn to be more independent and we talked about how I need to learn to….let go. Big Gulp.
She is not a toddler anymore. She is not a small child anymore. She is a beautiful, brilliant, funny, unique and precious young lady. A young lady who taking another big step, painting a new scene on her canvas of life full of vibrant color. But, she will always be my little girl. I’m ok, I got this.
Now that your near, promise your love, that I’ve wanted to share. And dream of our moments together, color my world with hope of loving you. -Chicago