There comes a point in everyone’s life when you realize – not just intellectually, but emotionally – that you’re getting older. That moment has finally come for me. I’ve known for a long time that I’m getting older. The aches and pains, not eating certain foods after a certain time, slowing down a bit here and there…That is, I’ve known intellectually that I’m aging and I like to think I’m doing it gracefully. I don’t pine for my younger days. I really don’t mind getting older. I’m doing things I like to do – cooking, writing, spending quality time with friends and family as much as I’m able. I get paid to travel the country.
Emotionally, though, it’s finally hit me. My daughter is 15 years old. In fewer than three years, she’ll legally be an adult. She’ll be able to vote if she so chooses (which I hope she does). She can move out and move on. I remember how tiny she used to be; I remember how she would crawl up my back like a spider monkey to sit on my shoulders. She’s still a goofball and still likes to be picked up and toted around from time to time, but she’s not a kid anymore either. She’ll never again be that small child I remember who thought she hated onions and loved to watch Spongebob and Scooby Doo. Now it’s telling me what kind of car she wants and dreaming of her future.
This is the price of growing up and growing older. The hatchlings eventually grow wings and learn to fly on their own, if we’ve done our jobs properly. I’m damned proud of mine. She’s a beautiful young lady, inside and out. I’m proud to have had a part in that. One day far too soon she’ll spread her wings and fly away, and that day will be bittersweet.
I’ve always said that it’s extremely dangerous to make another person your entire world, whether it be a friend, a spouse, or a child. When that person eventually leaves, what does it leave you? I’ve always said it’s paramount to have a life separate from the people to whom you’re beholden so when they do eventually move on you still have your essential self to keep you company. I’ve taken great care in my own life to ensure that I have my own life. I’m an amateur chef, renowned amongst those who’ve eaten my food. I’ve been asked to (and am in the process of) write a cookbook. I’m a published author of horror, weird fiction, and sci-fi. I sing whenever I can – both in private and in public. Beyond all of that, though, first and foremost, I am a father of a daughter. It’s an inescapable part of my essential self. Thus I am, thus will I always be.
Daddy loves you, hatchling. Always.