Letting Go Starts Way Too Early

CarWash

Gracie loves to make me proud. If you spend any time around the two of us, you’ll more than likely hear a “Daddy, Daddy!” followed by the beaming face of a three-year old who has done something “all by myself.”

I love my daughter’s personality. She is not shy and loves to be in charge – hopefully the beginnings of a strong, independent young woman. (I know there is a flip side to that and I’m ready for the battles). She wants to zip her own coat, to pour her own cereal, and put on her own pajamas “like a big girl”… and tell me about it. I love the telling me about it part. She’s so happy and proud to show me what she can do.

Not to say that this doesn’t produce some awkward moments. There have been very few times over the past couple of months that I haven’t been confronted by a half-naked little girl begging me to come to the bathroom to see the “surprise” she has waiting for me. Evidently the need to tell Daddy about her toilet training comes before wiping. Too much info?

Many of these mini-milestones make me just as proud of her as she is of herself. But then one comes along that tears your heart out a little. I was pumping gas the other day. Without fail, came the request for a “wash car”. Grace always wants to run the car through the automated car wash.

I still remember the first time. Her eyes darting everywhere – not sure which emotion, fear or excitement, would win the day. Her hand squeezing mine as tight as could be. Since then, we’ve been through a few car washes and I always try to make it fun with the “big brush” coming down to pitter pat on the sunroof while I place my hand on it so she can see that it can’t hurt us. She’s always been more excited than frightened, but hand holding was always a requisite.

Until last week. “We can wash car and I don’t even need to hold hands. I’m a big girl,” she proclaimed with great pride. {heart divides} as I’m so proud of my big, little girl but am just now realizing that the only reason I pay for these silly car washes is so I can hold her hand.

For the record – she can outgrow the need to show me her bathroom business any time. But hopefully she’ll always need to hold my hand. Maybe next time I should tell her that I’m scared?

T.

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