New Castle News

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June 9, 2012

Josh Drespling: They don’t get any younger do they?

NEW CASTLE — It’s official, my little girl has become a first-grader.

She has taken yet another step into her bright future. One day closer to fulfilling her destiny. But it seems like it was just minutes ago we were bringing her home from the hospital. Watching her sleep in her crib with awe in our eyes and fright in our hearts. It was mere moments ago that she ate her first solid food and spent the days crying because she was teething.

I swear we just saw her take those precious first steps and stumble to the ground. We just saw her in her first Easter dress and watched her gaze in amazement the first time she saw the flickering Christmas tree lights.

It seems as if it was just yesterday that she first spoke the word “Dadda” with her innocent and fragile voice. And it was only the day before that I could hold her entire body in just one of my hands. She was so small, so delicate and precious to the touch.

More recently she spent that dramatic first night away from mom and dad. A sleepover at Grandma's house was dramatic for her mother and I, but she never shed a tear. Even more recently she had her first friend and her first birthday party. As quickly as she started preschool she was moving onto kindergarten. We just finished the school registration and the orientation and here we are promoting her to the first grade.

Gone are the days of the little girl. She is a “big” girl now, you know. She sleeps in her own bed, ties her own shoes and even insists on packing her own lunch for school on some days. She even had the first experience of other girls making fun of and teasing her. She now wants to have the same toys, clothes and accessories as the other girls.

She has her own wacky sense of humor and her own unique style. She has new friends nearly every day and a never-ending flow of analytical questions and strings of personal theories. She has a firm grasp of the laws of nature, numbers and language. But she is still my little girl, that treasured being that made my heart grow three sizes that day six short years ago.

As this spring gives way to the hot days of summer, and the school year fades to a mere memory, I look fondly at her growing and taking that next step. My mouth says, “Go baby, go!” While my heart is silently screaming, “Stop, stay just the way you are!”

I know she will be fine; better than fine, actually. Because we have instilled in her a great sense of independence, decency and intelligence. However, forcing myself to remain silent and letting her learn and achieve on her own is now the most arduous task I have to undertake. To sit back and let life take its swings at my precious offspring is a vast deviation from my previous role as a protector. I am now the coach rather than the “doer,” but I'm easing into being OK with that.

Good luck, my angel. Fly high and make us proud.

Love, Daddy.


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