As my daughter begins to more fully interact with this world and she begins to show personal preferences, I realize that some day she will completely embrace her life as her own, rejecting external controls and dependency structures of her parents.

She will march to the tune of her own motorcycle.

How do I know? I fully rejected my parents at seventeen, moved out and never really looked back in any substantive manner. But, until now, I never realized that on the other side, from the parental perspective, the hurt that was probably inflicted. Being the center of your personal universe for so long results in lost opportunities; lost potential of an unselfish kind.

Whether it’s when she decides to venture to Costa Rica when she’s fourteen or when she heads off to college (or the circus, for that matter), the emptiness will come suddenly and deeply. Sure, maybe she may spend holidays with us, but she will develop her own world where we are but minor components. If we get the weekly call, we will cherish like life itself. Then I will be able to die alone and afraid, surrounded by strangers.

They all say, “enjoy it while it lasts” because it won’t last forever.

Nothing does.