From the first time I laid eyes on my first born as the doctor helped her out of the womb, I knew that I am one of those fathers who is completely ‘whipped’ by their kids. As I watch my two year old slowly figure out the world around him, I know that these moments have to be cherished because they cannot be re-lived.
I’m slowly accepting the reality that I only have one little girl now (not two).
Earlier this year when my oldest turned eight I began feeling a sense of loss that I have not yet shaken off. I know that she is no longer a ‘little girl’ – and the days are coming soon where there will be a whole litany of topics that she can only discuss with her mother.
And as much as I want to avoid it, the topic of ‘boys’ is right around the corner. The comments about the Justin Beiber-obsessed friends at school pretty much assures me we are on that horizon.
So how am I helping myself deal with my emotions?
I think I have two coping mechanisms for dealing with my emotions around this.
One: Cherishing the ‘little girl’ moments I have left with my five year old.
The middle child is still very much a little girl who gets a kick out of being picked up or cuddling with her daddy. She still sees the world very simply and often cracks the whole family up with a very well timed and pithy comment about a situation.
Even the things that should annoy me more – like her inability to clean the sink properly after brushing her teeth. Or the way she completely shuts down and can’t function when she is hungry.
These things are all ‘joys’ for me to experience.
Two: Creating ‘male bonding’ moments with my son.
The second way in which I am subconsciously coping is the great satisfaction I get from hearing my son ask for the basketball game to be turned on for him to watch.
Or how much he relishes imitating Biz Markie’s beatbox with me from Biz’s Beat of the Day.
He even has the hip hop finger wagging down and I didn’t teach it to him.
While my five year old is helping me deal with my sense of losing the innocence of my older daughter, my son helps me deal with the sense of losing some portion of her experiences that her mother will relate to better with her.
There is comfort in know that there will be some exclusive experiences that I will share with him as he develops into a man.
This all leaves me with one question though:
“What will I do when the five year old turns eight?”