My father sent me a comic strip a couple of years back that is now hitting home more than ever.
The first panel shows a father and his daughter walking in the snow. The father is in front of the little girl. The second panel shows the daughter saying, "Wait, I can't keep up...." The third panel shows the daughter, now grown up and in front of her aging father. He finishes her sentence, "With you."
The point is that kids grow up fast.
There is also a car commercial that always chokes me up a little bit. It starts with a little girl in the driver's seat of the car and her father talking to her while standing outside the passenger side door. She's about 5-years-old, the same age as my daughter.
He's giving her advice. Make sure you wear your seatbelt, drive the speed the limit, take you cell phone with you, but don't use it while you're driving.
Each question is answered in typical little girl fashion. "I know, I know, I know."
The last part shows the father giving her the keys, but she's not a 5-year-old girl anymore, she's 16 and driving by herself for the first time.
These two examples of how fast your loved ones can grow up hit me like a rock this past Monday. My daughter graduated from her pre-school class. Now, I know some people would say, "Get a life Corey, a pre-school graduation?"
But it affected me. By the way, she graduated from Learning Land Express Childcare & Pre-School, the best daycare in the greater Sunnyside area, probably the world, in my humble opinion.
I know I still have a long way to go before I have to hand over the keys to her new car. But she's 5-years-old now and just graduated from pre-school. She had a cap and gown, a ceremony and all the parents of the other children were there. It was real, even if it was just a pre-school graduation.
And then it hit me. She's still 2-years-old to me. She's still trying to suckle off mom's teat. She still wears diapers. She's still pointing and saying cute words instead of the proper ones.
But she's not. She's growing up and Monday's ceremony made that clearer than ever.
She likes to do things by herself now. Oh, she still wants daddy there, but that's mostly to show off. Pretty soon she won't even need that. Pretty soon, I will become an embarrassment to her, like my parents were to me and their parents were to my parents.
I should be happy that my daughter is growing up. She's smart, likeable and is going to be a beautiful woman someday. But, I'm not happy. I want my little girl and I want her to stay that way forever.
I know that's impossible and I'm being a little silly. But it's the truth. The other truth, the really sad one, is that she is growing up.
And that stinks.