Saturday was a perfect day in the woods of northern Florida, with the dogwoods blooming and not even a hint of rain. At our campsite, I was lounging in my hammock gazing up at the bright green canopy of the forest when Sarah climbed in with me. She snuggled up, placed her hands on my chest, and said: "Daddy, I'm not done with lunch but I want to see you because I love you."
Back home on Sunday night, she knew the following day was a workday. When I tucked her into bed she asked: "Daddy, can you sleep in my bed tonight since you won't get to see me tomorrow?"
And so I have been feeling happy and sad at the same time: Happy that she is so sweet at this stage in her life (she is four) but sad with the knowledge that these days are numbered. For the most part, she genuinely loves doing things with me and Erika, but there is no doubt that come puberty – or some point before – that will change. Being seen with her parents will become uncool. She will want to be thought of as independent and free of our influence. Her classmates will come to have more sway than us.
This is all natural in the grand scheme of things, so in a philosophical sense, it can not be seen as bad. Every one of us who ever lived to adulthood experiened the change in ourselves, and most of us turned out just fine, and most of us have strong relationships with our parents now that we are grown.
But as much as my mind understands this and accepts it, my heart thinks it absolutely sucks. I want Sarah to stay four years old forever, and I want me and Erika to stay in our late thirties, but God has other plans. I trust Him, but I would be lying if I said the trusting is easy.