Sitting on the edge of the bed this morning, I looked over at my wife’s slowly stirring figure. I watched her stretch beneath the blankets and finish with that little squeal that means it was a good stretch. She yawned, covering her mouth with the back of her hand like she always does. Her eyes focused and she slowly smiled at me.
I smiled back, knowing in that moment I was exactly where I was supposed to be in my life.
Before heading to work, I slipped a note into her lunch:
As a parent, you never think it will happen to you even though, somewhere in the back of your mind, you know the possibility exists. When it does happen, you realize that no amount of preparation can prepare you for something like this.
On Jan. 13, it will happen to me.
Suddenly, and without warning, my oldest daughter will turn 19.
This morning, I came into work early and sat with my cup of coffee. It was my first opportunity to really contemplate this event without interruption or distraction. As I scrolled through old columns I’d written about being a dad, and specifically those about my oldest daughter, I was drawn to this piece I wrote when she was seven. She had just learned to ride her bike without training wheels. As I read it, it struck me how more than a decade later the experience, as well as the advice I had given her, still applies. Continue reading Contemplating life without training wheels
I had a frightening dream last night. In it, I was wearing an alpine yodeler outfit. The kind with the brown shorts, the white knee-high socks, and the little cap with the feather in it.
Wait, it gets scarier.
I was on vacation with my family. Our kids were older, and my daughter had a boyfriend with her. A space ship landed, and an alien came out yodeling the theme from “Close Encounters.” My wife was calling to me, trying to be heard over the yodeling alien, when I finally heard her cry out in utter desperation:
The cat likes to play checkers.
As you might expect, I woke up in a cold sweat, unable to shake that vivid, terrifying image of—that’s right:
My daughter with a boyfriend.
True, she’s only 11 years old right now. But time passes quickly, and in another 15 years she’ll begin dating. To me, this dream was a clear indication that I should begin preparing myself for the inevitable. When I explained this to my wife, she laughed.