As a dad, you occasionally have those moments with your kids that, while eliciting a certain amount of pride, also are tinged with sadness. Those moments seem to be coming more and more often as my children grow into adulthood.
Like when I went to visit my oldest son at college recently. It’s hard to describe, but after he left home, I could see the changes in him, a new level of maturity. That impression was confirmed on my last visit; the boy who lived with us for 18 years was now a young man. It was one of those moments that you feel both a sense of pride and a little sadness because you know that something has passed and will never return.
Well, it happened again last week. My daughter is a high school junior and I got drafted to vote on a prom dress. I was told that my reaction to the dresses was not overly enthusiastic. Anyone who has been a dad probably can identify with the reason why.
She looked beautiful, stunning in fact, but she didn’t look like my little girl. Standing before me was a lovely young woman instead. The only dress I would have voted for was one that would have made me think of Shirley Temple.
Don’t get me wrong; I want my kids to grow up and become successful adults. I’m proud of them. I wouldn’t ever want to stop the journey, but it seems they grow up a little faster than I would like.
Like most fathers, I’m sure I have done a lot of things wrong and would like a few hundred do-overs. But one of the things I know was a good decision was praying earnestly for my kids’ future spouses.
I hope I can be forgiven, but regardless of the prayers, there is no way any young man will ever be good enough for my daughter. Yet, I suspect it will be like these other moments, where the pride overwhelms the sadness and in the end, you are thankful that they have entered the next phase of their lives.
Yes, she looked beautiful. But I don’t have to be happy about it.