Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Wonder Years

This morning Sarah grabbed my hand and held it all the way from the car to the school and then all the way to her classroom.

The Student of the Month Ceremony was scheduled to take place in the gymnasium twenty minutes after school started. Sarah eagerly told me that because she was one of the award recipients, she would be allowed to sit with me during the ceremony. Then she added: "So don't sit in the top row!"

So I sat in the first row, and when her class entered the gym she spotted me and ran over and jumped into my lap. Only when I explained that I needed my hands free and my view unobstructed, in order to film the part of the ceremony during which her name was to be called, did she acquiesce to sitting beside me instead of on me.

Naturally, I was proud when she got her certificate and her teacher's words were read aloud: "Sarah is an amazing girl who works her hardest every day. She is meticulous and always striving to learn new things. I am so glad to have Sarah in my class."

But mostly, I was struck by a bittersweet sensation of happiness and sadness mashed together. Happiness from the fact that Sarah is meticulous and striving, to use her teacher's words -- and sadness from the knowledge that the days are surely numbered when she will hold my hand all the way to the classroom door and sit on my lap in front of her friends.

Lately that sensation has been clinging to me a lot. Two weekends ago I took her to see Mirror Mirror and it was a perfect Daddy-Daughter Day. And yet, sitting in my mind, not far enough back to be ignored, was the realization that before long she will want to go to the movies with her friends instead of her father.

Maybe I am thinking too much. Or maybe it is good that I realize how finite the wonder years always prove to be, since that awareness makes me appreciate them while they last. I just don't know.

What I do know is I dread the thought that there may come a day when I lose Sarah's hero worship for good. I know I can't stop it, and I know the odds are strong for us to remain close in deeper, more important ways in the future. But that doesn't make me feel any better when I look at my girl who I fear is seven going on seventeen...


Barb said...

Enjoy your little girl to the fullest during her childhood - I have a feeling you'll always be her hero, John. I can see how proud she is to have her Daddy there!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Sarah is gorgeous, John. I know you are a proud papa....YES---they do grow up so very very fast. I KNOW!!!! Even my grandchildren are all teens now... Mercy Me!!!!

SO--enjoy those two sweeties as much as you can these next few years. They will pass by quickly.


Joseph Donoian said...

Beautifully written John. Enjoy these days of wonder as they are so fleeting...