In Tents

Wilderness Inspiration

This year we went camping without our usual partners in crime. While I missed hanging out with one of my really good friends, the time alone with my own family allowed for some quality time with two people for whom I care very deeply. We might not have done everything that we had planned to do (or wished to); but it was a great week none the less.

For some reason (and I am really not sure why I felt this way this past week more than others) the enormity of the word “daddy” really seemed to resonate with me. Maybe it was because we were “on our own” in the “wilderness”, the constant proximity to essentially only each other driving these thoughts to the front of my mind; maybe not. The little one is not so little: poised for her first year of real school, she is passing over a threshold – one that heralds the beginning of many changes that will strengthen her own individuality.

I would lie awake at night in the tent, remembering every stage (so far) of her development. Mrs. J would say (at certain points) that she wished for little J to “stay put” for just a little while longer so we could enjoy that phase for a few more weeks. It did seem like we would just begin to understand the latest rhythm, only to have the tune changed.

I thought about how, as a dad, it is my job to take this little person and help her find her feet; to show her what it means to be one’s own person. Of course, in doing so, I usher her further along the path, robbing myself of the ability to enjoy what she’s up to now; trading the contentment of what is for the excitement of what is to be.

I thought about how helpless it feels to hear her describe situations (away from home) where she is singled out, or is taught things that should be beyond her (like swearing – from unlikely sources no less). But that helpless feeling doesn’t last long and is replaced by pride when I hear her thoughts on what occurred; how she expertly handled herself in the face of adversity.

I am not a “blog-gushy” person; nor am I a “brag-letter” type. I usually post things about little J on here that I find amusing; other posts are a bit more serious, and they help me deal with the issue at hand by laying it out in front of myself. But make no mistake: I know how lucky I am to have such a wonderful kiddo, and even though every day is a conflicting mixture of the sheer joy of discovery coupled with the wistful sadness of watching our baby slip away, I don’t know anything more rewarding than being her dad.

One Response

  1. Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

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