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One Of Those Updates

February 1, 2017

I’m not sure when it happened. I guess I need to be okay with it, whether I choose to or not. She was never a baby. She came to us as a toddler, about 4 years old from an island in the Carribean. She came with brothers and a sister. From the time she arrived she has been universally cheerful and happy. She’s not happy every hour of every day, of course, but she’s skipped most of the morose, or petulant teenager stages. There’s still time for it to show up, I guess. But not much.

My daughter turns 16 today. Every daughter is precious and every dad goes through the “What happened to my baby girl?” phase, I think. We want the best for our kids. We want them to have it better than we did. We want them to avoid the mistakes that we made. We want to protect them from hurt and harm.

And yet, we want them to be strong. To be strong, you must challenge yourself. If you stretch yourself, you risk failure. By failure comes growth. We want them to be kind. To be kind, you must have empathy. To get empathy, or the ability to feel what someone else is feeling, you must have suffered anquish. We want them to be smart. To be smart, you must study and in studying you will at times become frustrated at trying to learn new things.

I want what is best for my kids, as I’m sure you do. There’s a challenge, as I see them not quite done with childhood, but not quite ready for adulthood. The challenge is to let them grow. Let them learn. And yes, let them fail, without letting them crash.

My children are the source of my greatest sorrow and my greatest joy.

Today, I’ll watch her excitement at the things that come with coming of age; driving, boys, thoughts of college. I’ll step back and continue letting go so that she can step forward and fly.

Even if I want to hold on tight for just a little bit longer.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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