I love my teen-aged daughter (But I miss my little girl)

This is a writing sample from Scripted writer KENNETH RAY

When my daughter Kaelin was three, Daddy coming home was a monumental event. I'd pull into the driveway, and I could see her looking through the beveled glass in our front door, smiling, jumping up and down in place, singing: "Daddy's home, Daddy's home, everybody sing a song!" She made that song up all by herself, with no help from anyone, and it brings a smile to my face now, just thinking about it.

In a few months that three-year-old will turn sixteen. The only song she sings now is "Daddy, will you take me driving?" She made that one up too. It's not really a song though. It's more like a dirge; mournful music that makes me sad. And I don't smile when I hear it, because with each driving lesson, the smiling, cherub-faced little girl jumping and singing in the doorway gets pushed further and further into the past.

Now don't get me wrong, the fifteen-year-old version of my daughter is adorable too. I swell with pride as she sits at the piano playing classical JSB (Johann Sebastian Bach) flawlessly, wearing her favorite crimson Harvard hoodie (her school of choice), while intermittently sipping a Strawberries and Crème Frappuccino from Starbucks.

Yes, there is a lot to be proud of; it's all just happening so fast. She got fitted for braces last week, but it seems like only yesterday we spent our daddy-daughter Fridays at McDonalds fussing over Happy Meals. I'm still not ready for makeup and high-heeled shoes, and Lord, I can't even force myself to say the b word, because in my mind, it's way too early for her to have a bbboyf (I can't write it either).

I guess I should have seen this coming, though I'm not really sure how much that would have helped. Imagine an eighteen-wheeler hurtling toward you at 80 miles per hour. You can see it coming all you want, but when it hits you, it's still going to hurt.

She'll be off to college soon, and I'm sure we'll have the mandatory sendoff with friends, well-wishers, and our family from out of town. I'll be called upon to say a few words, and I am confident I'll impart something eloquent and appropriate, because that's what dads do. I've witnessed other dads perform this ritual, and for some reason, they always manage to get choked up and cry.

I've promised my wife that I'll keep my composure, but as the day draws nearer, I'm not so sure. That's because when the time comes, while dutifully saluting the young lady in the cap and gown, I'll wistfully reminisce about the precious, cherub-faced little girl smiling, jumping, and singing in the doorway.

Written by:

A former ad agency principal, Ken has completed hundreds of projects, including magazine ads, articles, blog posts, press releases, content, and two books (one as a ghostwriter). He is a stickler when it comes to spelling, grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation, because deep down he is a bit of a perfectionist. His work has been featured on simple.thrifty.living.com, mlive.com, and Upsidehoops.com.
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