Watching Ten

July 1, 2019 at 11:00 am 1 comment

Watch, Dad! Daddy, watch!” is what you say when you are ready to show me just how far you can back flip and cartwheel across the backyard. You ask me to watch you take another shot at laying on the floor and arching your legs over your back, straining until your toes brush the back of your head. This is no different than it ever was with you; asking me to watch you do cartwheels at 10, turn backward while rollerblading at 7, hang upside down from the swing at 5, hold a ladybug at 3. Even though you are now ten years old, four foot-something and continuing to grow, when I watch you I still see you as every age you have ever been. longhair

All of those memories are brought forth at once by the things we still do together: sitting at the dinner table and talking, holding hands while walking down the street to the store, fighting about having to brush our teeth, falling asleep on the air mattress during living room camping, wiping away kitchen spills or tears from bad dreams.

Every night you ask me to tell stories, either real or made up, and I can still make you fall asleep before I am done. My trick is lowering my voice as I tell them, until I can hear your snoring over my whisper. Only now I suspect sometimes you remain awake when I am done because when I finish you snort and squeeze into me making it harder to sneak out of the room, so I have to stay a little longer.
chocolateIn this past year there were a number of times where your bravery was tested, the biggest test being the move to a new school. I knew you were very nervous because you didn’t say much as we walked up to the unfamiliar building surrounded by hordes of unfamiliar children. It didn’t matter how many times over the summer we talked about how it would go down. You just had to get through that first day on your own, and a few hours later you came back with so much to talk about. Your ability to engage with those new, other kids using your whole heart is what gained you many great friends in the first, crazy week. Now they are your community and you already look forward to seeing them all again in the fifth grade.

Other tests of bravery this year included getting your first taste of competition where you had to bump and shove against strange kids in front of yelling parents at soccer matches, performing solo lines with your own microphone at music concerts, choosing to have your hair cut short at a fancy salon, joining your first gymnastics class, and asking to speak to me in private about a certain special friend in your classroom who likes you as much as you like him. All of these tests have made you strong, sensitive, and confident. You are standing up and reaching for what you want in the world; less concerned about appearance and more interested in experience. It’s as if you have moved away from trying so hard to be an older girl and let yourself simply be.

sushiearsAt the start of your tenth year of life, this is some of what you do: you like books and baking shows, pugs, Harry Potter, arts and crafts, walking on your hands down at the mall, conveyor belt sushi, bubble tea, rollerblading, painting rocks, the music of Carbon Leaf, talking about crushes, YouTube videos, and telling me how much of a nerd I am. You can remember a million lyrics to a million songs but can’t remember to flush the toilet. Your room continues to be a perpetual mess of clothes, stuffed animals, Harry Potter pictures, and school papers. Not even the incentive of an allowance has motivated you to clean that mess up just a little bit. You hate your brother one minute and then love him the next because you know you couldn’t live without him. Our biggest fights are you telling me how much you want a pet and me saying ‘No’.

Our Dads and Daughters tradition continues, with one significant change. You are old enough now to fully connect with what is happening in the sport we are watching. These events are more than just a ride in the truck with Dad to get popcorn and sour patch kids candy. Now you want to stay for the entire game and see how it ends. Sometimes you get close to the players and see them as extra large girls who do amazing things you now want to do.

ivarsBefore you get back to the flips and cartwheels, there is something I need to tell you. It’s a simple ‘thank you’ for helping me while I was recovering from a significant illness earlier this year. You were always there to help me get my coat on when you saw I couldn’t get my arms up high enough, and to hold my hand as I hobbled painfully along to school with you in the mornings. You carried bags and opened jars when my grip wasn’t so strong. You brought me blankets and cups of coffee and scrambled the eggs in those mornings when I just needed some extra time on the couch to wake up. Your shining heart in those moments reminded me why every day with you is the best day.

You are a sweet, not-so-little girl who has accomplished amazing things for yourself in one short year. I am lucky to have a daughter who does so much to help the people around her.

Today we celebrate you, my brave girl. I am proud of all that you are.

Happy Birthday to you, my Little Boo, my darling Doodles, my Norah Grace.


Entry filed under: Being Dad. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

An Even Life Starting Another Year Together

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Peggy Thiel  |  July 1, 2019 at 11:16 am

    Wonderful story!! ♥️♥️

    Sent from my iPhone


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