Happy Father’s Day

I’ll leave you with a quote, an excerpt from Jeff Gammage’s new book “China Ghosts”: Becoming her father:

The lack of control is terrifying. Maybe that’s why parents reduce the experience to banalities. They grow up so fast. You turn around and they’re grown. Where does the time go? Then again, the cliches are cliches because they’re true.

Already I can feel Jin Yu moving forward – and away. I hear the clock ticking. I notice the continuous, minute changes in her looks and size and demeanor. Some days I almost want to shout, Don’t go! Please, don’t go. Don’t leave. Stay here. Stay my little girl, my baby, my darling. Stay the child who adores me always, the one who on Monday mornings wraps her arms around my legs and shouts, “Dading no go work!” And who, eight hours later, jumps into my arms and kisses me as if I’d been gone for a month.

My fatherhood will be too short. That I know. How long before she is off with her friends? Seven years? Eight? Ten at the most.

Still, being a father has already delivered more laughter than anyone has a right to enjoy, and greater satisfaction than anyone has a right to expect. It has taught me – forced me – to become my better, stronger self. And left me in fear that, on too many days, I have not been the person I’d hoped to be, but the one who is too tired, irritable and removed. The person who fails to understand that every day with Jin Yu is a gift, that these moments and days will pass like a summer wind. That too soon I’ll be waving goodbye to my grown-up girl and wondering how it all went so quickly.