When They Grow Up
Despite the title and the picture seemingly contradicting themselves, that woman up there is actually all grown up.
Not totally, mind you, but far more than I would ever have thought. Far more than her father, at that very same age, would have been as well. In fact, I was knee-deep in the throngs of a crazy whirlwind relationship at that point. It would be part of my life through most of hers.
So why do I call her all grown-up?
Last week I did one of the most stressful, scary things I’ve ever done since the passing of my wife. I left my four children alone.
That’s right. All alone, in the house, together my children were left in the care of their sister, now an adult. I had no doubts that she would be able to do it. In fact, it was her father that was more concerned than she was.
It’s not that I didn’t make preparations. I gave her money so that she could take them out for food. She can cook, my daughter. However, she doesn’t cook because, seemingly, it’s a task that she thoroughly hates. Bake? When the mood suits her.
So eat out was the plan.
It’s an amazing thing, this, because she is seeing an in-depth look at what life is like as a parent of two pre-teens and one full-fledged teen. Moodiness, grumpyness and all-out cabin fever hyperactivity of her twin brothers. That is what she faced.
So while I was wandering the streets of Philadelphia, taking pictures by the Liberty Bell, I was the annoying parent calling 3 to 4 times a day checking in on them.
The first time I called . . . the first day I was in Philly, my daughter answered the phone with “Hi, Dad, the house didn’t burn down, nobody’s injured, the kids are fine and we’ve all had dinner.” She cooked. Mac and Cheese . . . organic, of course. God forbid those chemicals get into their systems.
So while I stood there worried not about whether they threw a party or went crazy or killed each other but worried that they are scared being alone without their only parent . . . they just laughed at goofy pictures of their Dad and sent me silly things about how crazy they were. It was comforting.
Yes…it was comforting.
I wasn’t worried about the fact they are growing up. Honestly, I wasn’t.
I am proud.
I am proud about the fact that my oldest daughter, without flinching, no complaint, said she would watch them without fail. I am proud of the fact that they expected nothing but were thrilled with the things I brought home to them.
My kids were brilliant.
It makes me proud that they were brilliant.
No parties, no preppies, no boyfriends or girlfriends, no mess . . . well, okay, the house was a mess, but less of a mess than I expected it to be.
No . . . my kids are growing up. That’s actually a good thing.
Looks like I’m growing up a little in the process, too.