To Top

Our Story Begins: What’s In A Number?

1st school pic

Our Story Begins:
What’s In A Number?

I realized something just last night as I came home from a long day and I have to be honest with you. It completely freaked me out.

My little girl, firstborn child, daughter, is only three years younger than I was when I became her father. I walked in the door after a particularly long and exhausting day and most of my evening routine was the same. I’d made dinner already, yet they’d all eaten. My daughter had seen to it. I suddenly saw the adult and not the child.

There are weird parallels here. When I was 20 I stayed and worked in my college town because I was gaining journalistic and production experience at a TV station. This year my daughter only had a few weeks home and she’s going back to work on a grant over the summer.

Yet for some reason when I see the grown-up that is now simply visiting my household I still see the little girl up there. The tiny person who spent “Abbi/Daddy day” on Monday because her Mom was in school. The same person who went to the ice-cream parlor or went to Memorial Park and held on with the tiniest of hands I could imagine and grabbed the two handles off of a spool of string while she watched me run and launch a kite into the air. The little girl who used to sit in her car seat and yell “Daddy…SING!” while I was in the car and would giggle while waiting for me to sing either a nursery rhyme or some blues song I’d been rehearsing the night before she didn’t care which.

Related: Our Story Begins: What I’ve Learned as a Single Dad

I see that girl . . . but in reality, today, I saw this woman instead:


It is a hard thing to realize that the little girl you tried so hard to protect . . . whom you had to grow up so quickly for . . . is suddenly an adult. You don’t want to admit that, she’s only 20 (near 21) so that cannot really be considered an adult, right? Yet it dawns on me . . . I was only 24 when she was born. I was making it up as I went. I just had to act like I knew what I was doing.

To be honest, I never felt like a real adult, either. Even now . . .when I walk around I am thinking this:


(Okay, minus the bad long-hair days) Yep…that’s my baby girl in my arms. I think this picture but what I see and am confronted with when I look in the mirror is this:


It becomes abundantly clear that I’m 40-something when I see myself. I feel the pain in my back from years of carrying hundreds of pounds of gear. I wonder how I made it without killing all these little kids, I don’t have an adult mentality. I didn’t read parenting books and the internet didn’t exist. I used my parents as examples because, let’s face it, they were adults. It never dawned on me that “hey, Dave, guess what? You grew up!”

That’s when it hit me: none of us know what we’re doing. Not really. That is a necessity, too. If we tried to parent everyone from a straight instruction manual it just wouldn’t work because every kid is different. Every child needs a different kind of care and a different hand. It’s why I find myself missing having my wife’s presence because she could fill in the gaps I’m only now beginning to fill.

I look and I realize something else: that little girls has turned into a pretty tremendous woman. She’s far more an adult than I was at her age. That’s the greatest accomplishment I can ever have achieved.

What about you? Do you see your kid growing or do you still think of them as your little ones?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in Family & Home

Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

Copyright © 2017 Good Enough Mother® Designed By ABlackWebDesign