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Mushy dad post warning. You’ve been warned.

My daughter Sawyer is in 3rd grade at Eastern Christian School. She recently turned 9 years old as one tends to do in 3rd grade.

It’d been a few years since she had a birthday party, so my wife Stephanie and I decided to bring her and any of the other 3rd grader girls that were interested and available to the Ice Vault in Wayne. It was great! There was the usual birthday party excitement and just the fun of all of the girls being together. But this party had a unique twist- none of the girls had ever skated before. This made for a very fun time learning how to skate. After several failed attempts, multiple falls, and more than a few bruises, they all started to figure it out- little by little. Every single girl made tremendous progress over the course of our brief time there. That’s what kids do- they learn. They grow. And, as everyone tells you, time flies.

As Sawyer blew out her 9 candles on an ice-skate-shaped cake, some simple math occurred to me: 9 + 9 =18. I’ve seen 9 of Sawyer’s birthday celebrations. I have 9 more until she’s 18 and off to college! Wait. Is my 3rd grader half way to college?!?! My 3rd grader is HALF WAY TO COLLEGE!!

Everyone always tells young parents “It goes by fast! Cherish these memories- your daughter will be grown before you know it!” While my elementary school teachers did a fine job with simple math facts, no one ever told me that 9 is HALF WAY TO COLLEGE!!

As a dad, I think I’m suffering a mid-girl crisis. I’m pretty sure that I invented that term. Here’s what this Mid-Girl Crisis™ means for me:

  • I’m scared. Hard for a dad to admit sometimes, but being a parent is scary. Every day, my daughter will continue to grow more independent. That’s my hope and prayer for her, but it’s also scary to think that, as time goes on, I will have less direct influence on her. She’s only a year and a half away from middle school where peers become more influential than parents.
  • I’m excited. Parenting is an adventure. I love to discover things that Sawyer loves. Somehow my pride and love only grow. I can’t wait to see what these next 9 years hold. I can’t wait to see what God will do through her! She’s an amazing kid. 
  • I’m prayerful. Everyday, as parents, we pray for and with our children. I pray for safety, protection, health, good decisions, wisdom, forgiveness and leadership. I’m grateful that my family, my church, and my school prays for my daughter.
  • I’m thankful. I’m thankful for this amazing little person who God has entrusted to Steph and me. I’m thankful for my Christian family far and near. I’m thankful for my church family at Restore. I’m thankful for her amazing group of friends from her 3rd grade class. I’m thankful for our school family at Eastern Christian School. I’m thankful for her teachers past and present that teach excellently and model a mature Christian life even more excellently. I’m also thankful that she’s still young enough to not be completely embarrassed by this blog post!

Sawyer- in what seems like yesterday, but is actually 8 years 11 months and 12 days before she learned how to ice skate

I’ll remember Sawyer learning to skate just like I’ll remember her learning to walk. Many attempts. Many failures… ultimately leading to success. That’s how we learn. That’s how we grow. The next 9 years will be full of many more attempts. More failures and more successes. I’m thrilled that I have a Christian school community surrounding her on this journey to help in ways and times that I can’t.

Sawyer’s middle name is Joy. As she skated with her friends, wearing a sweater bearing that name, I was reminded of 3 John 1:4. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”

This has certainly been true of our first 9 years together. Here’s to the next 9 years- and Lord willing many more- of walking (and skating) in the Truth! I love you, Sawyer!

With her brother Xander who is currently 38% of the way to college