She’s a Little Runaway

imageWell, it was a good run.

7 1/2 years of being perfect is pretty good when you think about it. Perfect in the eyes of my daughter at least. 7 1/2 years of being the coolest, funniest, smartest dad in the world. That’s a pretty impressive accomplishment by any standards. Since the very beginning I’ve been the best dad ever in her eyes. The guy who knows everything, can do anything and is her best friend in the whole wide world. Well not anymore. That a came to a screeching halt the other day when I became public enemy number one. I’d better start from the beginning.

It began innocently enough. My daughter wanted to watch the movie Annie. She had started watching it at Grandma’s house but had to go home so I told her we’d finish it at our house. We don’t own the movie and it isn’t available On Demand, but it just so happens to be on YouTube. Unfortunately when we started it, the internet connection became slow and it wouldn’t load. Cue the waterworks. What’s a super awesome dad to do? Drive my ass to Target and buy the Blu Ray copy of the film, that’s what! At that point I was already preparing my acceptance speech for my Father of the Year award. But when we got back home it was dinner time so I told my girls that I had to cook and we’d all watch the movie after we eat. And just like that, as if you had flipped a switch… she turned on me.

She stomps off into the living room turning to yell at me “We’re not best friends forever anymore!“. Alright, well I have dinner to cook so I’ll worry about that later. 5 minutes later she marches her way through the kitchen, passes me a note and marches back. “I’m running away.” it reads. Well damn. Apparently this is turning into more than your average temper tantrum. I still don’t give it too much thought until I see her throwing together all of the essentials into her backpack. Everything a 7 year old needs to survive on the streets. Some clothes, a doll, a few books. Life is tough for a kid on her own, even worse if you don’t have anything good to read. By this time Mom has come home but isn’t able to defuse the situation either. So after attempting to talk her out of it for awhile I decide to call her bluff. “Grab a jacket, it’s cold outside.” And off she goes.

I have to admit, I didn’t expect her to leave the house. And I certainly didn’t expect her to get very far. But lo and behold when I poke my head out to see where she is, I see her about 3 blocks away jogging through what is now a pretty good rainfall. It’s at this point that I realize that she’s not joking around. She’s heading to my moms and is about to cross a pretty busy street. So I hopped in the car, drove after her and demanded that she come back home. She angrily tosses her backpack into the backseat and climbs in without a word.So we drove back home and she stomped back into her bedroom to sulk and think about what a horrible dad I am.

The whole situation really caught me off guard. Not only because the two of us have always been so close, but because what triggered it was so mundane. She’s not the type of girl to fly off the handle so easily and it’s the first time that the two of us have really butted heads. It served as a glimpse into the future and what’s in store for me. The days of my sweet and innocent little girl are coming to an end and the days of raging hormones and mood swings are on the horizon. Gone will be the days of her wanting nothing more than to spend the day with me doing puzzles and playing Barbie. Soon I’ll be lucky if I can get her to say hello to me after she gets home from school.

I don’t know for certain that it will be that way, but there’s a good chance. And that makes me sad. I like being the hero to my little girls and I’ll do whatever I can to try and keep it that way for as long as possible. I’ll make sure that she knows that I’m always there for her no matter what, even if she hates my guts at that moment. That’s about all any of us can do. And until that day comes when she rolls her eyes instead of answering me, I’m going to cherish these days as the perfect dad who can do anything, knows everything, and is her best friend in the whole world.

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