Every time my ten year old daughter does a sleepover at her friend’s house, I always feel terrible. That’s what happened last Saturday when she had a sleepover at her friend’s house. On the one hand I am happy that the house becomes quieter and I can do some house chores without having to grumble over the perpetual mess that she creates or write my sermon without too many interruptions. But on the other hand, I feel like the house is too quiet without her presence. She is my wild one among my two kids; This stubborn yet tender-hearted daughter of mine has a nonstop brain that’s always thinking about creating the next great project or the epic mess around the house, one after another. Some of her favorite shows on youtube are Life Hacks, Cooking and make-up-tips. You can imagine the combination of craziness she’s able to produce. The other day, she was experimenting with shaving cream mixed with borax to create a slimy substance. Another time she put a match inside a block of butter, saying she wanted to create a lamp. But it failed (duh???, and then she used the butter and smeared it all over her arms saying that butter makes her skin smooth. Of course! It’s greasy! Goodness….Guess who has to do all the cleaning?

It gets annoying. I have wished many times that she would grow up quickly so that she can be more responsible. But when I realize that she’s no longer a little girl, I freak out! Where did my little girl go?? And that’s the problem whenever she goes for a sleepover; it feels like my time with her is numbered. I know the more she’s growing, the less time I will have with her. It will be more sleepovers, it will be more time she spends with her friends. It’s just gonna get worse when one day she finds a boyfriend. I just know that for a fact. Occasionally I tease her about a boyfriend, wondering if she has one already, because sometimes she makes a remark about a cute boy at her school. I asked jokingly, “if you have a boyfriend, will you still remember, papi?” She always responds with anger saying, “that’s a stupid question, papi! I am still too young for that!” Yes! That’s my baby! I was so happy with her answer. I know there’s no boy good enough for my daughter. Pathetic, right?

When the house turned quieter from her absence, reality hit me hard. I realized that one day she will fully develop her own wings. She will fly away from my presence, journey her own world, and make a life of her own. Inevitable truth. But how can anybody prevent that from happening? I remember a wise man saying that loving someone is like letting water float freely on the opened palm of our hand. When we try to hold the water, we will end up squishing the water out. I can do all kinds of things to make my daughter stay close to me and I can apply all kinds of control over her life, but as a result I may end up hurting her growth and hinder her from her full potential.

I’m also aware that life has its cycle and its season. And if I love someone, I have to be able to honor the time and the season of his or her presence. Time and time again, I am reminded by what the Bible says: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to embrace and a time to let go…” (Ecclesiastes 3) Yes, one day she will be a full grown woman with living her fantastic life of her own and I won’t be able to cuddle or treat her like a little girl. But this is a season to enjoy her presence as long as time permits me to do so. I believe this is a time to embrace my daughter as much as I can and be a good father as good as I can. For this season, I thank God with all my heart.

Love and prayers,

Vincent Arishvara 05192016