I have so many fond memories from when my girls were smaller – before they had their periods - when they adored me and snuggled with me and laughed at all my stupid jokes. They obediently did almost everything I told them to do. There’s nothing like a precious, naughty little girly daughter for a dad to love. The memories of those days are etched forever in my mind. In fact, whenever I speak on the phone to one of my girls, I still picture them at the peak of precious childhood innocence: one is frozen at six years old, and the other at nine.
Even though they’re closer to fourteen and seventeen now, in my head, in my imagination, they are forever captured in the golden years of childhood. There was Lilly with her soft-as-a-pillow skin, her silky long black hair, and that cute little speech impediment. (She couldn’t make the sounds of s, f, j, l or r until she was in second grade. I loved it. I recorded her voice at age three as I made her say: “See the fox run.” “Hee da ha wung.” It was very sweet). And there was Sophie with her porcelain face, golden curls, and that innocent enthusiasm for exploring everything around her.
I used to make up stories and games, because the girls were such a great, adoring audience for my bizarre sense of humor. Sometimes I ended up laughing harder than they did. But, alas, these silly little games can only go on for so long before the girls start to think they're completely ridiculous, even embarrassing.
Soon enough, the inevitable happens. They get older, smarter, opinionated, independent, and quite adept at text-messaging at lighting speeds. The parent is no longer the center of the universe, as the orbiting children are now pulled away by the enormous gravitational force from the massive cluster of peer-group friendships. These friends are now seemingly omnipresent, thanks to the accessibility of Facebook, instant messaging, texting and cell phones. In this new universe, the parent is no more significant than a passing asteroid that circles every 80 years or so. A quaint point of interest, but not relevant. Or so they’d like to pretend. The problem is that the parent hasn’t participated in this shift, and generally doesn’t see it coming. Our world hasn’t changed much, at all. We’re still the parent and they are still the child – they’re just a lot bigger now.