Time’s Yardstick

Nothing makes me feel older than listening to and watching my children. Bug turned 16 this last weekend. We wanted to make this a memorable, but not garish, birthday to remember and in doing so time reached out and smacked me across the face. Thing is I remember my 16th… barely, and I remember that father’s day 16 years ago, pacing the hospital hallways while my daughter took her time. Kinda like trying to wake her in the morning. It seems like just yesterday. Yet here she is, level head, artistic, funny, a young lady with an ear for music and an eclectic, far-reaching taste in art, music and those little life moments.

No she’s not always sunshine and lollipops, sometimes she’s all broken glass and twisting, shrieking metal. But not for too long. Call it the learning curve. She’s wise beyond her years.

So, instead of a big knock ’em out party, she opted for a night with the girls watching… 80’s movies. Yes, Breakfast Club was their choice. Cue time’s slap #2. I remeber when it came out. I remember loving the movie, of how cool I though Judd Nelson was, how good Molly Ringwald looked and even the allure of Ally Sheedy’s awesome character. I could relate to bits of Emilio Estevez’s character and bits of Anthony Micheal Hall. Even Paul Gleason who always played a great 80’s heavy.

Here they are, 2012, 15-16 yrs old laughing where I laughed and me feeling uncomfortable about it. Then Bug turns to me and says, “I’ve watched this four times and I still love it but I don’t think it would work if it was released today.”

Hunh? There they were, five of them, a good representation of the youth of today, loving this 80’s movie about growing up, about tolerance, about acceptance. How is that not timeless? So I say, “But you guys love it, how would it not do well?”

A shrug. That’s all I get. Sometimes, she so deep and mature and sometimes she so… teenager. Visions of me as Homer Simpson and her as Bart, eyes bulging as I strangle her fill my head. Deep breath… it’s just metal and glass. Remember the sunshine… lollipops… grit your teeth and smile, my wife’s voice whispers.

That was the night before her birthday. The night of her birthday, we told her to go out to her friends, there were a couple of them having B-day parties as well, all good kids too (she runs with a good crowd from a wide variety of tropes ie, jocks, artsies, popular, even Ally Sheedys). Her response? “No, I want to have dinner out with you guys.” Cue Life moment.

We spent the day doing what she loves doing, browsing Blue Heron for books, meandering along Main Street, buying new and unique cheese from The Passionate Cook and an evening out with friends for dinner at Lone Star. She had a great day. And so did we.

What a good kid.

She going to go places. And if not, she’ll be happy wherever she is because that’s just the way she is. As long as she has her friends and family, everything else is just icing.

And yet I can’t help but want her to stay right where she is. No getting older, no looking ahead two years to going away to university, just stay in the room down the hall where I can listen to her sing and play her guitar and yes, even argue with her sister.

Time flies and the older I get the faster it flies and like an old shoe tied the to back of the car, I’m dragged along whether I like it or not.

Oh well, might as well enjoy the scenery. If time comes out swinging again, I’m gonna beat it with that yardstick. Because, dammit, I plan to stay young at heart and in mind forevermore.

About Dale Long

Writing ambushed me from the shadows. At first I pushed it aside as nonsense, but luckily my wife and two girls saw the potential. Since then I have had an article published by Metroland, placed as runner-up and in the top ten in humour writing contests and various other contests. The icing on the cake was placing as runner-up in the WCDR's Wicked Words contest (130 entries) and having my entry published in the contests anthology of the same name. My entry was an exerpt from my upcoming novel, Echoes.
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7 Responses to Time’s Yardstick

  1. Enjoy it while it lasts, Dale. My daughter just turned 19 and that was a kick in the head for me. Can’t believe she’s that old. Can’t believe I’m that old.

    And yeah, there’s times when she drives me batshit crazy, but most of the time I can’t believe this beautiful, intelligent and humorous creature was raised by her mother and I. How’d we do so damn good?

    Great post, man.

  2. Diane Dooley says:

    Aw, she wanted to spend her birthday with her family? That’s beautiful!

  3. What a beautiful tribute to your daughter. My oldest son turns 16 in August. I’m pretty sure he’ll want to do what he always wants to do–videogame and ignore his chores. LOL

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