Her beautiful little mind has constructed a generous image of you. An image completely undeserved.
It’s an image she won’t want to let go, no matter how many cracks begin to show in your armor. To preserve the image, she’ll forgive you— more than she should. It will be easy to take advantage of her generosity. The evenings away, the missed recitals, the lost weekend. To save the image, they will be forgiven. Girls are forgiving, but time is not.
One day it will hit. The little eyes that saw you generously now look more like her mom’s eyes. She no longer fully embodies an innocent, forgiving little spirit. Part of it remains especially for her dad, but something necessary in her is developing. As she journeys toward womanhood, that beautiful little mind begins to see reality more clearly, just in time to rightfully evaluate suitable co-voyagers. She’ll still hold to at least a piece of that image of you she carried as a child, but time has proven less forgiving.
It’s no wonder Moses prayed, “Teach us to number our days.” The days may be long parenting little girls, but the years are short. She might be generous in her forgiveness, but buying her generosity only accrues personal regret. Time is not forgiving, and it’ll hit with force.
Don’t make her work hard to save her image of you. Leave the meeting on time, make the recital, get on the ground, pick up a doll, put her on your lap. Make it easier for her to hang onto that image. Reality is, nobody may ever see you the way she does. Enjoy it while it’s there. Give her a reason to hang onto that image longer. It’s that image that will be the standard by which she evaluates her co-voyager. Keep the bar high dad.