When I was little I made a deal with my dad. I assured him I would never grow up. Now I’m a 19 year old college student and there are very few parts of my life that haven’t changed. I drink alcohol, spend nights with my boyfriend, and drive a car. I am no longer a little girl.
To this day, my dad jokingly pleads with me “We had a deal!” but deep down, he is happy that I have grown up. There is now a different dynamic between us and it has strengthened our bond. He knows I have grown up so when I asked him if it bothered him to know that “some guy” had his little girl’s heart his response didn’t surprised me.
“No,” he said. “It doesn’t bother me because I don’t think of you as a little girl anymore. You are a young woman. And you are meant to experience love.”
Instead of trying to protect me, my dad is happy that I have the opportunity to be in love.
My dad has the power to connect with people my age. My friends and I will sit around the big counter in my kitchen and talk to my dad for hours. He knows more about my friends’ lives than their own parents do. This has been true since we were little and he was more of an authority figure to us. Then we grew up.
As I’ve grown up, my relationship with my dad has changed. Since I’ve left for school, when we talk, it’s like two friends catching up with each other. My friends and I still sit at that counter and talk about life with my dad. He still knows more about my friends’ lives than their own parents do. But now, instead of talking about high school crushes, we talk about having found the man of our dreams; instead of commenting on how annoying our younger siblings are, we ask how they’re doing in school. We talk about life, and not the middle school “she-said-this-about-me-so-I-told-everyone-this-about-her” type of life, but the “what-are-we-supposed-do-be-doing-with-our-lives” kind of life.
Since high school, the things that used to drive me crazy are now laughed at because they don’t matter anymore. Connecting with friends is now harder than just walking down the street. Those who used to live no more than five miles from me now live in California, North Carolina, New York, DC, England and elsewhere. We are making lives for ourselves that evolve around more than allowance, homework and Pizza Hut.
I believe through the act of conversation we have grown up. I believe the conversations we have get more intimate as we grow up and thus, more valuable.
The relationship that I have with my father is closer than ever. I can talk to him about anything and he responds as he would with an old friend. I believe it’s because I went back on the deal we made when I was young. I grew up.
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