She leaves every summer to be with her mom.
Her return is always anticipated with excitement and nervousness, hoping that the piercing smile of innocence and wonderment returns with her. Though her eyes are still full of life, I know that with every summer, yet another piece of the child stays behind, never to return again. And when she greets me in the parking lot, as her mother and I exchange bags, I secretly take what pieces I can and quickly sweep them into the treasured memories in my heart, locked away safely where time can’t steal or age.
As happy as I am to see her face and share in her newfound love for all things One Direction and Taylor Swift, I miss the little girl who would hide behind my legs grasping my finger with her whole hand, and reach up to me as if safety began and ended in my arms.
I’m a musician and a writer. I explained to her why The Beatles were popular. I opened the door to black gospel and soul so she would appreciate our roots. In return, I learned from her the importance of timeliness. Getting home at 8:15pm meant missing the first 15 minutes of The Teen Choice Awards. Mr. Harry Styles and the fellows would not appreciate their proud fan watching their performance a la carte via Youtube, especially after voting them to victory every single day for a week straight.
Timeliness is key she said.
But on this occasion, the child in her didn’t mind that I was late. Maybe she saw the pieces of fear swelling in my eyes. Maybe she sensed my weakening arms reaching out to her as if sanity begins and ends with her. Just maybe, she suspended the wire clocks long enough to tell me briefly that it’s still ok. She’s still my brown-eyed girl. I’m still her dad.
For that, I say thank you.
Thank you for reminding me that life is more than a 9 to 5 without benefits or vacation. Thank you for showing me that life didn’t stop when they left us as she searches for happiness apart from me. Thank you sweetheart for making me remember the days when music made me excited; oh how I miss that feeling.
I know you must grow love. I know you must grow. There’s a world prepared for you. A God with a destiny for you. You must walk your path.
I just pray that when you think of me, your heart smiles. I know that mine smiles daily with every precious thought of you.