Recently my daughter came to visit from college…only this time she was accompanied by her fiancé. When exactly did my “baby” become this beautiful, 21 year-old, young woman? Sarah’s unbalanced toddle has been replaced by a determined, self-directed gait. Her moments of uncertainty and hesitation have long yielded to a spirited confidence and an independent mind. And her ready compliance to her father’s authority now struggles, resists, and even rebels, as she tries to work out who she is and where she is headed.
I love her energy, zest, and spirit for life. I am grateful for her poise. But I would be less than truthful if I said I didn’t miss the soft, submissive two-year-old who held tightly to my finger as we walked down the street; who called for me when she was unsure; who trusted every word I spoke as truth and brilliance; and who believed Daddy could do anything!
So many times we played together in the bay behind our house as she freely explored the water, fish and hermit crabs? Hundreds of times she stood on the pier and shouted, “Catch me Daddy” as she jumped into the water, supported and protected by my waiting arms. I am proud to report that I never dropped her, not even once! She was fearless because I was there, overseeing her every move. I was vigilant in my watch for anything that would harm her, and she knew she was safe in my care.
Today, as a burgeoning adult, Sarah is nearing the end of her college career and the beginning of married life. As she has grown, she has become confident in her own care and is convinced that my abilities have been previously overrated! It’s a struggle watching my baby grow up…painful really. Sometimes it is especially difficult when I know she needs me, but refuses to call.
As a young adult her signals are harder to read. Instead of asking permission, she asks for forgiveness; instead of seeking my approval, she demands my agreement; and rather than holding tight she is pulling free. But in the midst of all the turmoil and confusion, if I listen really hard, I can still hear her cry: “Catch me Daddy.”