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  • Writer's pictureMarc Lalonde

Enduring my daughter's dating years

I knew it would come. I knew, in my heart of hearts, that the day would come that my little girl, my first born child – the one I still can’t believe the hospital let bring home, frankly – would start dating. Of course, they don’t call it dating anymore, and they don’t even call it seeing each other, but it’s officially a reality and she is now ‘going out’ with a boy at her school.

It could be fleeting, or it could last forever. Doesn’t matter to me, frankly. I’m of two minds of the whole thing. On the one hand, I want for her to enjoy life and live all the adventures that life brings, such as romance and the dizzying highs of the honeymoon phase of any romantic relationship. On the other hand, that’s my little girl and I’ll tear your arms off if you even think about touching her.

You can see where my inner conflict would come into play, don’t you think?

But I think what’s gotten me tied in knots emotionally has something to do with what it represents; because honestly, I secretly pity the fool who ever messes with my daughter. The unfortunate soul that happens to, will find, that much like her mother, my daughter will lay you out without even thinking about it. No, my melancholy has more to do with the passage of time and the idea that A) I’m getting older and B) that she’s potentially out looking for my replacement.

Of course, I’m totally insane, because, well, I’m the father of a pretty 14-year-old girl.

The idea that she may be becoming an adult is, confronts me with my own mortality and the notion that I’m not nearly as young as I used to be is also one I’m not overly comfortable with. In addition to being a great kid and a wonderful person, my daughter is a gifted hockey player, and is seeking to go to a prep school in the United States to finish her high school career before moving on to a U.S. college, where she would ideally play four years before graduating and garnering a spot on Canada’s national women’s team. That’s her plan, anyway.

And it’s a good plan. I just don’t know how much I’m in love with the idea that she would move out as early as next September at the age of 15, but it’s something I felt I could live with if it meant she was on her way to reaching her goals – goals she has worked obscenely hard to achieve, to this point – but it's a double whammy of contemplating my daughter’s potentially leaving the nest next year and the fact she is ‘going out’ with a boy.

I’m going into this with open eyes, though. Life’s a journey, not a destination, and I certainly hope that she enjoys the journey every bit as much as her mother and I have watched her make it. All we can do is give her the freedom to go enjoy it.

I just don’t always have to be happy about it, do I?

She's not my little baby anymore

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