Sunday, April 18, 2010

Still Saying Good-Bye to Childhood

It seems like yesterday my wife was chaperoning a group of middle school girls to cheer camp at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Our daughter is in that group, as an 8th-grader, holding the middle "M." "CMM" stands for Caddo Middle Magnet, which is significant. Since these girls have been in magnet programs, it means when they got to high school, they spread out to four different schools.
As they prepare to graduate and move on to college, they had a middle school cheer squad reunion. How much does a girl change in four years? Let's check out my daughter, with the girl who lives across the street and another buddy, four years ago. When I saw this photo, I had to be convinced they were in the 8th grade. They seem like babies, don't they? Look at them today:
Staring at these photos together is an emotional experience, I can assure you. Being the parents of a daughter is not easy, especially when you know she just can't wait to get out of the house and go to school somewhere far away.
As for spreading out, they will be even more diverse in the fall. College destinations were a hot topic at the party, as you might expect. I heard about TCU, Oklahoma, SMU, BPCC, Ole Miss, Louisiana Tech, certainly LSU and then I just lost track. Look out, world. Here they come.
Here's another trip through time. The three sign holders (plus one) from 8th grade:
And today:This activity is simply the latest in a series of events my daughter and her friends are organizing to essentially say good-bye to high school. It follows that childhood is also behind them. Senior Party and Prom are coming up quickly.
It's almost too much for an old man to bear. I've watched these girls grow up and I'm excited about the spectacular women they will become.
But for now, I just can't stop asking myself "Where have the little girls gone?"

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