I too can totally relate to this kind of terrible sadness now that my daughter is older. I thought I was the only person that felt this deeply about her growing up.
What I really miss is the sweet, loving little girl she used to be. We had a wonderful relationship as she was growing up, a fantastic daddy-daughter relationship. The things that really make my heart ache now are when I remember things like when she was about 3 or 4, she once said to me, “Daddy, you’re my best buddy.” And once when I was putting her to bed (about the same age), she stood up in bed, put her hands on either side of my face and gave me five little kisses, two on my forehead, one on my nose, and one on each cheek, and then she laid down and went to sleep. She has a large stuffed animal collection, and each one has a name and its own little imaginary history, and I used to play with her with them all the time. When her mom was getting ready to take her to visit her relatives for a few days, my daughter would always say to me, “Daddy, make sure to play with the animals every day till I get back so they wouldn’t get lonely.” I’m actually having some tears now because writing these things down brings them up to the surface again and it’s so painful to me that these times are gone. We had a terrific relationship and were very close, and I could literally write dozens of paragraphs about all the wonderful memories from when she was younger. If I had a bad day at work, it always cheered me up when we spent time together afterwards.
I keep thinking that once she hit puberty (she’s 11 now), it’s like someone reached inside her head and flipped a switch and now she’s a completely different person. She still loves her stuffed animals, though, and sometimes she still asks me to play with her with them, but I’m dreading the day that she no longer wants to do even this. It seems that there’s about 10% of her younger self that’s still there, but 90% of her is now this edgier, mood-swing, aloof kind of tween girl. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying she’s a bad kid, she’s just so different now. She’s in a good mood a lot and we still talk and have fun and goof around. I know these are the things that happen during puberty, but it’s just so painful that the sweet little girl she used to be is almost gone.
I also keep thinking that I wish I could turn back the clock to when she was 5 or 6 or 7 again. The thought often pops into my head that that’s the best age for a parent-child relationship, when they’re sweet and innocent and they love you to death and there are no attitude problems (usually) or ‘I’m too cool for you’ kind of stuff. I know that when your kids are older, like in their late teens or twenties, you can relate to them more as adults and talk more heart-to-heart, but I can’t help it, I just really miss that sweet, trusting kind of love and closeness that I had with her when she was younger, untainted by attitudes or mood swings and the like.
I know the usual advice would be that I’ve got to accept the changes, she’s growing up, life goes on, you’ve got to move on, etc., but it’s just so hard to let go of my sweet pea. It is kind of a comfort, though, to know that other people are going through the same thing. It’s just so hard.
mausra mausra
46-50, M
Aug 11, 2015