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Fail: I see my daughter cry and I feel good?


I watch my daughter and I am afraid she is growing up so fast. Then I watch her fail at something she was working so hard to achieve - when she starts to cry: I see my little girl.
Yes it’s odd, I know. But it’s true – and to be honest I couldn’t help but feel good. Our children are always running toward the future at a hundred miles per hour and as a parent (like most parents) I want her to slow down, be a kid and to not be in such a rush to grow up. I know it’s selfish of me, part of the reason I want her to slow down is because I don’t want to lose my little girl, my princess. Even with all the things I do in order to prepare my baby girl for the future – I secretly desire not to lose my little girl.
I remember when I was her everything, I was Dad – no I was “SUPER” Dad. Now she is so busy trying to do everything on her own, working so hard to be self reliant, self sufficient, independent – that last one is the one that hurts the most – independent means (to a Dad) she no longer needs me. That is a bit hard to swallow, knowing that I am no longer superman (dad) to my little girl.
I want her to grow up. I want her to learn how to defend herself, to learn, to prepare and to be successful in life. But with all that said – part of me still wants my little girl, my baby girl.
So when she was working so hard to get her driver’s license; talking about being independent and all – I was fine. That is until the day of the driver’s test. The day of the test I watched her walk away and I thought to myself – oddly enough, I hope she fails. Not because I was being mean or desired ill will toward her – but because to me at that moment – it was a defensive desire. If she fails, she will not be independent and she can stay my little girl a little bit longer.

When she came back and I found out that she failed – I didn’t feel guilty, no not one bit. Part of me was relieved, calm and I looked at her to see her reaction. She gave no sign of doubt, sadness or hurt – she smiled and said “I messed up”. After finding out that it was a small mistake that caused her to fail we walked outside and I watched my little girl break down into tears. I wanted to grab her and be “super dad”. I wanted to hug her and make her sadness go away. But something odd happened – I asked her to run me through the test (take me everywhere the instructor took her). Instead of wanting to coddle her, to baby her – my attitude changed and I wanted to empower her.
The next thing I did was take her through her mistakes, show her how to correct them, teach her how to overcome her failure and to learn from them. We decided that she would go the next following Monday (it was Friday) and retake the exam.  On Saturday I took her back to where she took the exam and we went over everything several times. It was strange for me; my desire to keep my little girl was overwritten by the instinctive fatherly desire to want to see my children succeed. As a parent we can’t stop them from growing up and I know one day I will no longer be considered “super dad” but it doesn’t mean I am not still dad – I will always be dad.

And by the way: early Monday morning she went and she passed that drivers test - that's my baby girl. 

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