They Grow Up Too Fast: A Father’s Story
That’s my girl…[/caption]
I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. For those in the States, it was 4th of July, and I’m sure many friends and families have been gathered together these last few days to spend some quality moments together. Speaking of families, I’d like to take a moment to share a personal experience I had last week with my 10 year old daughter Danielle, as it was one that has made me think quite a bit over these past few days, and its subject is one I think we can all appreciate…
As for those that don’t want to read on ‘the personal’, please return Thursday for our regularly scheduled programming. 😉
For the Love of Softball
My daughter Danielle was in All-Stars for softball this year. It was a nice culmination of hard work on her part, and what surprised me most is that as a father, I really got into her softball experience this year. Whether it was throwing ball outside between blog articles, waiting excitedly for the mailman to bring us the new pitching machine, or simply discussing her play as we drove home from games—it was a great time for the both of us. As a huge lover of sports, it has been quite a joy for me to watch my 10 year-old approach softball much the way I did with sports many years ago.
When the all-star schedule came out, we realized that the final game would run into the first week of 4-H camp, which meant that if Danielle was going to be able to attend camp and also play in the game, there would be quite a bit of traveling to make the logistics work.
This being said, on the final game, after driving two hours in the morning to get to a sales appointment, I hurriedly left and drove another two hours to pick up Danielle at the camp, and then another 90 minutes to get to the game.
A Special Ride
To make a long story short, we lost the game, which was no big deal, but it was during our 90 minute trip back to the camp that night that Danielle and I had such a memorable time together. You see, it wasn’t that we did anything special during this ride. After all, it was just us, late at night, in a car after a game. But the conversation we had in this little ride was touching. Danielle spoke of the season, the lessons she had learned, the things she was proud of, and what she saw for the future. As a father just sitting back and listening to his 10 year old, all I could do was smile and think just how much this little lady had grown and matured so quickly in what seemed like such a short period of time. Instead of pushing her around in a stroller, I was now carrying her from softball games to summer camps where she’d be days away from home.
Even more touching to me, as we were headed back to camp, and after a few moments of silence, Danielle put her hand on my arm and said, “Dad, thanks so much for doing this today. It really means a lot to me.”
I could hear in Danielle’s voice just how sincere those words were. She understood how much I’d driven around to allow her to attend both events, and without question, she was truly grateful. Instead of taking for granted the sacrifice of a parent, this child had now reached a point of maturity to be able to see the big picture and empathize with the efforts of another.
It’s funny just how far a little ‘thank you’ will take the heart at times, especially from a child.
They Grow Up Too Fast
When we finally arrived back at the camp office at 10pm that night, an officer met us there so as to walk Danielle back to the campsite.
After a huge hug and goodbye, I got in my car and took a moment to watch Danielle and the camp officer, with their backs facing me, walk into the dark of the night, back to where the rest of the campers were getting ready for bed. As she walked further, and the number 5 on her game worn jersey faded into the night, I was surprisingly overcome with a joy and sense of appreciation that literally filled my whole being.
There was my daughter, but no longer was she my baby girl. Life was now taking her down diverse paths, and she was more than ready for the new adventures. As the streams of tears somehow made their way down my cheeks, I was reminded of just how fast these treasures we’ve been given as parents grow up, and the need we have to cherish each moment with them now, as the opportunities are still there.
Have a great week everyone, and as always, feel free to comment below or share this article with your friends.
photo by my friend, Talmadge Newsome