On my tween daughter's birthday: I will love you long after you're gone, gone, gone

I adore the Phillip Phillips’ song “Gone, Gone, Gone.” I know it’s a romantic song about the lengths to which one will go for a lover, but yesterday, as I stood in our garage watching my girl make up a tap dance to the song we both like so much, it struck me that the lyrics also very accurately describe parenthood.

While my daughter’s birthday is always a joyous time (this girl has no problem celebrating herself or having fun), the special day always reminds me that our time together under the same roof is going by quickly, her taps sounding like the tick of the clock running on her childhood.

When life leaves you high and dry
I’ll be at your door tonight
If you need help, if you need help.
I’ll shut down the city lights,
I’ll lie, cheat, I’ll beg and bribe
To make you well, to make you well.

As I watched my girl dance, her long limbs served as reminders that both she and her body are changing, quickly morphing into a person I don’t know as well as I did the child whom I used to carry on my hip. But that means that she gives me more marvel at each and every day. And that certainly does not mean that I feel any less protective of or devoted to her.

When enemies are at your door
I’ll carry you away from war
If you need help, if you need help.
Your hope dangling by a string
I’ll share in your suffering
To make you well, to make you well.

She spun across the garage and into the driveway, and it seemed like she could go on forever. That will happen, someday sooner than I would like. She will twirl far away from me into the world that extends beyond my grasp. She’s already slipping a bit. For now, though, I will hold her as close as she will allow and relish in the my good fortune of being the one to care for her.

When you fall like a statue
I’m gon’ be there to catch you
Put you on your feet, you on your feet.
And if your well is empty
Not a thing will prevent me.
Tell me what you need, what do you need?

Just as she is growing, I know that my job as her mother is also evolving and now includes letting her fall sometimes. Although I will do that, my first instinct will always be to want to catch her.

Like a drum my heart never stops beating for you.

And long after you’re gone, gone, gone.
I love you long after you’re gone, gone, gone.

I hope she knows that no matter how far she goes, be it to junior high next week, college in a few years or the great beyond, I will love her every bit as fiercely as I did that moment 11 years ago when I first laid eyes on that precious face.

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Filed under: Parenting, Pop Culture

Tags: birthday

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