Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Raft

In my last post I alluded to a big development at the beach this summer.  The beach at Eagle Harbor has a raft floating about 50 yards off shore.  It's always been my job to escort the girls out there.  It's one of those little things you do as a Dad that make you feel useful and appreciated.  On our first visit to the beach this summer, I was more than happy to fulfill my fatherly duty when the call came.

Turns out there wasn't much for me to do.  Scout can easily walk out now, and what Quinn can't walk, she can easily swim.  It struck me that my presence, while perhaps comforting, may not actually be necessary.  It took the girls a few more days to figure this out for themselves, but eventually the question came: can we go out to the raft by ourselves?  Meg and I had already discussed this of course, but we acted the part of deliberating parents before saying yes.  The girls had the look of kids who are fairly certain they'll be shot down, but it's their duty as kids to ask anyway.  Their little faces lit up as it sank in that they'd actually been given the green light, and they were off.

The girls made it easily, like I knew they would.  I smiled, swelling with pride, as they jumped off the raft, over and over, the thrill of independence floating back to me on their laughter.  As I kept watching the girls, it dawned on me, this won't be the last time they figure out they don't need the old man.  Letting go is only going to get harder, and in that moment, I was grateful for the practice.   


  1. Nice post. Stories like this make me look forward to having kids.

  2. Those are the bittersweet moments of parenthood:) I could totally picture their faces smiling at their good fortune!

    (give Meg and the girls a big hello and hugs from me and Cat!)

  3. Awww...what a beautiful story. And here I am fretting over a big boy've obviously gone a little further down that path! Well, I do have a 10yr old I am getting a taste of that end of things as well.

    The hardest thing for me as a mom is knowing that if I've done my job RIGHT, they won't need me anymore. Bittersweet, no? :)

  4. Great story. My 16 year old was away with his friend for the weekend and it was just my wife, my 11 year old, and I. I thought about how our family and house will change once my oldest graduates from high school, and I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet. While I want him to go out into the world (hopefully adequately prepared), I also don't. Sigh. Such is the life of a parent.

  5. Squilla's AuntJuly 31, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    What a poignant story about fatherhood and letting go. I was always amazed at how my parents knew how to gradually lengthen the leash just when I was starting to strain against it. It's partly an art, I think, but mostly it's paying attention, knowing your kids, and making the time to discuss and decide together beforehand. Good parenting. Good story.