Daddy Confessions: They don’t play no more!!!

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So, this past summer my oldest daughter reached another developmental milestone—she turned the BIG 1-2. It’s the time when emotional, physical and social changes begin to move at a rapid pace. For the most part of the summer I’ve witnessed her transitions such as her additional moodiness, laziness, less display of affection and her placing more of an emphasis on her body image. So needless to say, in my Kevin Hart voice, “I wasn’t ready…Noooo!!!”

I can still remember the day I turned 12. I couldn’t wait for it because I understood it as being one of the rites of passages to the beautiful teen years (manhood in my eyes). I understood it as the “year of change” and what a change it was. In that short year my mental and physical psyche was changing right before my eyes. The conversations amongst me and my friends were moving past basketball cards and more towards the likes of girls, girls and more girls.

With me thinking about and knowing where I was mentally at 12, I knew this generation had to be on that—times 10. Trust me y’all, I really didn’t want to come to grips with her being 12. I knew it was getting close to the end. It got to the point, where I refused to say she was 12 and just kept saying she was 11. However, I knew the truth. She was indeed 12, but in my mind, she was still one of Daddy’s little girls (and she will always be to me).

It really didn’t hit me hard until recently. One of her best friends was coming in town and I had told her, “You better go and finish cleaning your room before your friend gets here, so y’all will have some room to play.” I’ll never forget it. She looked at me with her little head cocked to the side and replied, “Daddy, we don’t play no more—it’s called hanging out.”

In my mind I was thinking, what the F&$% is going on? I had to step away to my thoughts and reminisce about the times when she would be sitting in her room with her friends: playing with dolls, asking me to help her with the doll clothes, playing dress up and fashion show (if you have girls, you can relate). Now it’s: Can you take me to the mall? Do you have any money? Can someone drop us off at the movies? My replies tend to be, “No, no, and hell no.” But deep down, I knew it was over. In a blink of an eye, my little baby, wasn’t a baby anymore.

I felt bad y’all. It was terrible. But, I began to think about the other side. I began to think about her next phase and journey in her life and the role I get to play in it. These next couple of years will be the most pivotal for her growth and development. While our conversations will become more serious in nature, it will only increase the special bond we already have. So I’ve gotten over it somewhat and I’m looking forward to this next stage.

The only downside is I’ll have to do this all over again in 4 short years. That’s REALLY going to hurt more than you know.

I’m not ready…Noooooo!!! 

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Mario D. King is a devoted husband, father, writer, small business owner and believer that love all aspects of the arts...

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