21. And counting.

black and white; photography

She turned 21.

Our celebration dinner was at home earlier in the week.
Family was seated together. She was at the head of the table.
Champagne glasses filled. Dad with his Snapple. A Toast.
Her favorites. Cheesy Parmigiano-Reggiano breaded chicken breasts.
Buttery mashed potatoes. Long stemmed broccoli and cheese.
Followed by vanilla flavored birthday cake with thick gobs of frosting.
Cards from Grandparents.
Earrings.
She opens a small box from her Brother. Beaming. She slides on a ring.
I turn my head away to keep it together.
Discussion turns from sharing stories to plans for the evening.

“I’m staying in the city with a friend.”
“You mean you’re not coming home tonight?”
“No, Dad”

Flash of anger. Rolling to disappointment. Then settling into Sad. Turning deep, down and inward.

Dad’s leaning into a gushing current.
Water rushing over, under, through.
Hopeless to stop it. Yet he keeps trying.

Happy Birthday Honey…


Comments

  1. LaDona's Music Studio says:

    Beautiful post …

    Like

  2. Beautiful short short story, the hardest kind to write I’m told.

    Like

    • Thank you Frank. I appreciate the kind words and feedback. Some days if feels insurmountable to get just the right words on the page, and capture the moment. And other days, it flows like water. Thanks for dropping by.

      Like

  3. who’s the friend? how can I get a hold of you? when are you coming home? Aww shucks… little girl is growing up….

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  4. it was wonderful David.

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  5. Michael Zahaby says:

    Love the post. Flashes of the past. What i did is Let go and let God (not easy for a credit guy)

    Like

  6. Peggy Farrell Schroeder says:

    It’s a bittersweet passage that all parents face but, congratulations! You are the proud father of a wonderful young woman.

    Peggy

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  7. Letting go is the best way to keep her near (in the long run). Tough though.

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  8. Awwwwww, you are a dear, sweet dad. Those words got to me, right in the center of my heart. It makes me think of that poem I love so much by Sharon Olds, which I think I’ll post on the new blog…after reading this sweet post of yours. I know the love in your soul my friend, and I know what it is to love a daughter. Your words bring tears…of love.

    Like

  9. OneHotMess says:

    I have a Rachael, too. She will be 24 in a month along with her twin. It’s been a lot like you describe with her. In our home we say, “That’s just so Rachael! “

    Like

  10. I understand. Completely. Though my understanding is of sons not daughters.

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  11. Hard to read with tear-filled eyes….wonderful post. One of my favorites (and there are many).

    Like

  12. Another heart-revealing story, David. Such a bittersweet little story. Love seeping through…Happy Birthday to your girl! πŸ™‚

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  13. rakanigan says:

    thank you daddy.

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  14. A wonderful love letter to your baby girl who is growing up fast. I am still hoping you are saving these letters for her. She will value them with everything that is in her. There is nothing like a father’s deep abiding love for a daughter.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

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  15. Great recount of the evening. I feel your pain, but that is part of being a dad….they move on….luckily.

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  16. Bim Sohan says:

    Hi Dave,

    I certainly understand how you feel as I continue to struggle with letting go. My daughter thinks I have control issues, which I really don’t just want to make sure she is always safe.

    Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    Like

  17. Brett Mansfield says:

    Are you really talking about your daughter Dave? If yes, I can’t believe she is already 21. Hope you continue to enjoy the memories you and your family share with her.

    B

    Like

  18. Happy Birthday to your daughter & wishes to her for many more.
    An emotional post. Must not be easy for a parent to “let go”. I’m still a ways from that stage. But – I can see it just around the corner with my son – who just turned 16 in May. would say – can’t they stay home forever. But – no – I really don’t want that.

    Like

  19. Happy Birthday to your amazing daughter. And how to define the tears at moments like this? She is your pride and your light; you have been her prince and she will define qualities that she sees in you when the time comes for her to search for her soul mate. And the relationships change and morph – as we mourn and celebrate at the same time. I don’t think we ever stop doing that.

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  20. These are always your best posts…

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  21. wow..Great Post Dave! Time flies. Happy 21st Rachel!

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  22. You know that old commercial where a dad is reminding his newly-licensed daughter about driving carefully as she prepares to take the family car out for a first solo spin? And the actress portraying the daughter keeps shifting between an older girl and a 5-year-old self (because that’s her in Dad’s eyes)? Always makes me teary. As does your post.

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  23. David, Mimi hit it spot on. As our children grow and stretch their heartstrings in other directions just always remember, regardless of how thin it gets it never breaks with us. It’s just different.

    Like

  24. This brought tears to my eyes–i could feel your sadness and joy at the beautiful woman you’ve given to the world. She’ll always be Daddy’s Little Girl.

    Like

  25. This was a beautiful, “lump in the throat” inducing post, David, as those about your kids so frequently are. Your fierce love for Rachel and Eric shine through in every word, and it’s breathtaking. Happy Birthday, Rachel.

    Like

  26. I feel that all the way down inside. Happens every time I leave my son’s house, or my other son (23) takes off right after … whatever. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  27. As always great post and what touched my heart was Rachel’s comment “thank you daddy” as if a little girl of 5 is thanking her Dad for the chocolates (:

    Like

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