Monday, July 6, 2009

Don't go away mad, just go away

31 Posts in 31 Days: #6

This may be a little rambling, and a little "stream of consciousness-ish," and it may end far from where it begins. Please bear with me...

My oldest daughter, Jordan, is going away to girls' camp tomorrow. It's something of a right of passage -- especially the first time. She'll be gone until Friday afternoon. I intended to sit down and write a sentimental piece about how she is growing so fast, and where have the years gone, and how did she get so grown up, all of the sudden? But the problem is:

I can't wait to see her leave.

And it's not because I'm so excited for the things she'll experience this week. It's because she's driving me nuts.

Jordan is almost 12, but she might as well be 14. She's a teenager in every way. She's moody. She's diffident. She's selfish. She's irresponsible. I should clarify that she is only like this for us -- she's very good for everyone else. Thank goodness for small miracles, I suppose.

I guess this is just an eye opener. I realize it's not the end of the world, but I suppose every parent hopes -- with their first child, at least -- that it will be different.

And now that I've gotten that off my chest, let me tell you about Jordan.

Jordan is, and always has been, my muse. From the moment she was born, she has sparked the most creative phase of my life. She has striking, deep blue eyes, they are her most distinctive feature, and they always have been. You know Jordan in any photograph, from any age, by her eyes. The camera loves her -- she is, by far, my most photographed subject of the last dozen years.

She can be so sweet, and so generous. I feel blessed that Jordan and I share an artistic inclination. I cling to that and hope that it will be a common ground, in the coming years. Even as I sit here, I want to go back and change the opening lines of this post, but I also want to keep my thoughts in context.

I am looking at pictures of her, and remembering twelve years of smiles and serene beauty. I think of a little girl so eager to please, so anxious to make others happy. I know she's still there. I see it in these photographs.

In the end, it's hard to hide who we really are.

My baby, the beautiful child who made me a father, is rapidly growing into a beautiful woman. I've always longed to see her fly, and now that that time has come, it scares me. I imagine all the wrong choices she could make, all the frightening and unknown aspects of life that seem to depend on the direction of the wind. I grip tighter, but I know what's coming.

She's leaving tomorrow, and from here on out she'll be more young woman than little girl.

As I sit here, I remember that little hand in mine, so many years ago -- gripping so tight then. It seemed like it always would.

Maybe that little hand always will hold tight to mine. Maybe that's what will see us through these other times.

Goodbye Jordan,
I love you,
Have fun, and come home to me when you're done.

I'll always be here for you.


Jill @ Sneaky Momma said...

Sniff, sniff. Your post brought a tear to my eye.
I hope that your sweet girl has a wonderful week at camp. Enjoy the extra bit of peace that comes with one less mouth in the house! :)

Kristen said...

I've tried for years to figure out how to bypass the teenage years, but to no avail. They all have to go through it, dangit!! She'll be fine. She's got good parents who love and care about her and will help guide (or pull) her along the right path.

She really is a beautiful girl. Hope she enjoys camp.

Pam Emmons said...

So sweet. I can't believe she is old enough for girls camp, either. She was not even 2 when I came into the picture, and she was a big reason I fell in love with the family. Pete and I used to "steal" her and go play. I loved it.
I was thinking that while I am here, I might hire her to babysit a little, so I can go and workout a few times a week.

Izzy, Emmy 'N Alexander said...

Oh the things I have to look forward to with two girls. It scares me sometimes, but eventually I am going to have to deal with it. I just hope I can do it as sane as you. lol!

She really is a beautiful girl with lovely eyes and hair. Love her hair!

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you mean. You are such an awesome dad. Jordan won't be in this phase too long. I hope she has loads of fun at camp. :)

Aaron said...


I just gotta say here that you are not as sappy as you makes me laugh. (Yes I said sappy...that is a correct word for what you are on this post).

I think the first few lines of the post were the best...."Get outta here, you are driving me nuts....sheesh" much more true.

I agree that it is surprising and shocking when your baby grows up, your muse finding her own. It is painful. I feel the same about mine.

You don't have to ALWAYS be sappy...just tell her to get out of the house and have a good time.

The title says it all....don't go away mad...just go away.

Alex @ I'm the Mom said...

Wow. I'm in awe of your writing ability and your photography.

Big hugs. You'll both get through these years ;) just remember the early years when the teenage attitude wasn't around lol.

Lori said...

Girls camp will change her..... for the better. Whitney went and it changed her and love it.
I am glad to find you in blog land. You will no be added to my list of things to do when I should be doing other things.

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

What did you go to college for? How to make grown women cry in their yogurt?!

Dang, man. You must stop. Before I have to get some therapy!