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.

Cheers!

30 replies
  1. Jackie
    Jackie says:

    Oh, I hear you on this. I feel it with my boys as my 3 year old doesn’t need me like he used to. But on a whole other level I feel it. It’s how my Dad must feel when he looks at my sister and I and how, while he plays with my boys, he must remember those moments when it was his own girls right there in front of him.
    wow – you sure WERE sentimental. Got me all teary, now, too, thinking about it. Great post.

    Reply
    • Chris
      Chris says:

      I wasn’t lying, lol. It’s funny because writing this made me think about the same thing but with my Mom. I haven’t been a great son since my Dad passed away but I’m glad that I am smart enough to realize it and try to change that about myself. Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  2. Georgia Read
    Georgia Read says:

    Love the story…know all those emotions as I watched you and your brother grow into the fine men you have become. You are a good son and I always know you are there if I need you.

    Reply
  3. BloggerFather
    BloggerFather says:

    Thing is, I want to raise my kids to be independent, but at the same time, I want them to need me… When my girl lets go of my hand and climb on to the car seat by herself I feel these mixed emotions. She’s so strong-willed, ready to take on the world–but doesn’t she know she needs me???

    Reply
    • Chris
      Chris says:

      We forget that they are literally learning everything each day. It feels good when they learn something because you taught them that thing. Once they get it, I then forget that they have so much left to learn, lol. SeeSaw Parenting I guess.

      Reply
  4. dadblunders
    dadblunders says:

    Independence is a double edge sword. We are happy to see them grow up but sad to see them work there way into the world. A parents job from the moment they have a child is to work on letting them go.

    Aaron

    Reply
  5. Brenda
    Brenda says:

    We never ever lose that need for our ‘daddies’ My dad walked out on us when I was 10, I lost all those ‘dad n daughter’ moments. Years later, I forced a relationship with him, and on him, and now we can’t be any closer then we are.

    I’m still his little girl, and he’s still my daddy… we may get older, and more independent, and our need for daddy will gravitate, and change.. but we will ALWAYS need our daddy, no matter how old we get.

    Great blog again!

    Brenda

    Reply
    • Chris
      Chris says:

      Wow Brenda, thanks for sharing your story. I can imagine that was really tough on you growing up and I can only hope to always be there for my little girl (and boy of course).

      Reply
  6. Brandi
    Brandi says:

    What a great post! I completely understand the whole growing up part with your kids and am currently feeling those same things about my daughter. My son was a little easier to see taking on life more independently, but my daughter…well, maybe because she’s the last and our youngest is a little harder lol. I can only imagine how my parents, especially my dad felt! Don’t worry, she’ll always need you regardless, just in different ways 😉 Love your blog btw!!

    Reply
  7. Kelly @ City Mom
    Kelly @ City Mom says:

    Such a nice post Chris! It’s the toughest job in the world for so many reasons but this one you write about is perhaps the hardest of all!

    Reply
    • Chris
      Chris says:

      Thanks Kelly, I’m happy to know that this could be the hardest. Maybe it’ll thicken my skin a bit….I’m guessing not though, lol

      Reply
  8. Annie @ It's just my life...
    Annie @ It's just my life... says:

    Great post Chris… and for me this is the hardest … I want my children to need me forever… and my children range in age from 8 to 22 so they don’t need the mumma so much. 🙁

    Reply
  9. SoberJulie
    SoberJulie says:

    Oh isn’t being a parent heart wrenching at times? This independance is something they want so badly but I’m not quite ready for it….

    Reply
  10. Deborah / Mom2Michael
    Deborah / Mom2Michael says:

    It’s so hard and so wonderful watching them grow up and become their own people. It really all does pass by so quickly

    Reply
  11. Christine (@chancesmommy)
    Christine (@chancesmommy) says:

    Oh my goodness! This has got to be one of my fave posts! Love it!

    With Little One, sometimes it hurts my heart to see her grow so quickly and learn so much. She’s no longer a baby!!! Eeeek! They really do grow far too quickly!

    Reply
  12. Deanna T. (@MapleLeafMommy)
    Deanna T. (@MapleLeafMommy) says:

    At two year sold my second child is already so darn stubborn and independent, it just about kills me. Yesterday we took her in the pool for the first time since she was an infant, and she kept trying to push her dad away saying, “I do it! I do it!” refusing to understand that if he let go she’d stop floating. It’s like that for so many things. To keep them safe we need to be there, but they don’t always want us to be. Hard job.

    Oh and damn you for making me cry with this post.

    Reply
    • Chris
      Chris says:

      Ugh, we went through the same thing with my daughter in the pool. She doesn’t want help any more and I’m both happy and sad all at the same time. Sorry about the crying, that’s never my intention but I appreciate that it made sense to you.

      Reply
  13. Tammy @inRdream
    Tammy @inRdream says:

    It breaks my heart when I sit & back and watch them lose the need for me. As a stay @ home mommy this is my life, this is the path we have chosen. DD6 starts Full-time Grade 1 this year, DS4 starts part-time JK, DS2 starts preschool, leaving me with DS1 full-time @ home. I am not sure what I am going to do next year when the older 3 all independently go off to school FULL-time! (full-time kindergarten another rant!) I guess we need to embrace the next chapter a feel great about the new bonds this will bring. Great post! Thanks! Yes your right a little girl will always be daddy’s little girl I see it with my hubby & daughter.

    Reply
  14. Caryn S.
    Caryn S. says:

    Loved your blog chris as it is so true! My son starts kindergarten in the fall and while i am not sure i am ready for this chapter in his life, i know that he is and that is all that matters!

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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    […] like a child’s right of passage. Before you can flash that beautiful eye batting, world stopping smile, you have to first go through the awkward, sometimes constipated looking “Cheese” […]

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