Just about the time Katie could stand by holding onto a coffee table, I decided to create a new Saturday morning ritual. Every Saturday, while Heather was catching up on the sleep she didn’t get the night before, Katie and I went to Starbucks. Just the two of us.
She was fascinated by the people there. She would watch people, I would read or journal. Every now and then we’d cuddle. It became one of my very favorite things.
Time Shows No Mercy
Then she grew older. And she was less satisfied with people watching and she demanded my attention. We’d read books and play little games. That worked well for a while. But now she’s mostly bored with it. For the sake of transparency, I’ll admit I’m saddened by the loss of such sweet times.
But i’d be fooling myself if I thought she’d stay the same forever. By nature, she must grow. And if I’m going to avoid the mistakes of former generations, I must adapt and change my relational strategy to fit with who she’s becoming.
Experiment #1: Try a New Creative Hobby
There are a few creative talents I’ve always appreciated in others despite my own apparent lack of skill. Sketching and painting are among the best.
Last week, I gave Katie the choice. We’re going to have a special time together this Saturday. Would you rather try drawing or painting? She chose painting. Painting it is, then.
Saturday came, and we stopped at Walmart for a couple sketchpads, watercolors, and brushes. We picked a scenic park nearby with ducks and a pond.
Katie was pretty excited. Something new. Something we’d never done before.
I had an amazing time. So peaceful and restorative to paint in the shade of a large tree in the morning light. I probably enjoyed it even more than she did. Who knows? Maybe this becomes our new tradition. Our new “us thing”. Maybe not. But either way, I’m satisfied that we got out of our rut and did something new. We charted a new path. We experimented.
Coming to Terms with Reality
There’s a definite sense of loss over times and events we cannot return to. Such sweetness as I’ve never imagined. Those days are priceless gems among my memories.
Today presents a new challenge. Growing in our relationship together. As her capacity for language skyrockets and her thirst for higher and higher levels of interaction increases, I have a choice: mourn the loss of the past and be left behind or make the somewhat stiff and painful steps forward and create something new. And hopefully discover that forward motion bears within itself a sort of inertia that enables future transitions to be that much easier to withstand and enjoy.
I know one thing for certain: no matter how old she gets (or how old I get), I want us to always have that daddy / daughter tradition that we honor. She’s my precious little girl. She always will be.