The Smile That Stopped The World
It’s no secret that as our children get older, they need us less and less. I’ve already begun to see the signs of this with my 4 year old son as he sets out on his path to independence. He recently started his first “no parents allowed” swimming class and it is devastating and exciting all at once.
For some reason, even though I’d been through this with my boy, I thought that my little girl would be, well, my little girl, forever. Every day that passes I see her learning more and gaining the ability to do the little things that Daddy used to help with.
She can do up her own seatbelt in the wagon now, Daddy used to help with that. She doesn’t need Daddy to help her much at the park any more because as she says “No, I Can Do It!”. She doesn’t even need me to help her down the stairs any more, even though I still stand there, hovering over her, sometimes even hoping she’ll slip up a bit so Daddy can catch her.
That sounds harsh and it’s not that I want her to get hurt, it’s just that I want to show her that I am still useful. I want her to need me as much as I need her to need me. I know there’s a next stage of her life, where she’ll need me for a lot of other things, like riding a bike or eating an ice cream cone but I’m just not ready to go there yet.
There’s something about the sincere joy in her eyes when she sees me come in the door from work, that makes my heart ache for the day when I walk in and she just nods and carries on with her day. I dread the day when her excited screams of “Daddy, Daddy!” change to a “What’s Up?” as I enter the room.
She doesn’t know it but she has the ability to stop my world on a dime with a simple unforced cuddle. With a smile, she takes away all my worries and troubles, even if just for a split second, which is long enough.
I’m not sure what brought this on tonight. Whether it was the terrible things happening in the world right now or the realization that kids get older and need us less; or maybe a combination of both.
There is one thing I do know though.
I danced with my little girl this afternoon and as I twirled her around in my arms, in that moment, we were both completely and utterly happy. Most likely for different reasons but happy all the same.
I realized today that it’s okay for my kids to get older and it’s okay for me to be scared about that. What really matters is that I take a moment every now and then to stop and truly appreciate everything I have in them.
There’s no way of knowing what’s in store for them, so all we can do is show them that we are here for them when they need us. To give them all the love that a parent possibly can and hope that someday they are able to share that love with a family of their own.
Kids may grow up and need us less but until that happens I am going to continue to enjoy the moments that bring my world to a stand still.