“Don’t Post it on Instagram, Dad!”

I’ve been writing about Madison since the day she was born. We’re talking about Myspace days, here. In all this time, I’ve been free to write whatever I’ve wanted. That might be changing.

1“Did you get my text?” Lynnette asked when I got home. “No,” I said. “DON’T LOOK AT IT, DAD!” Madison shouted. When I finally did look at it, the picture on the left greeted me. Madison’s been sick this week and I guess one of the symptoms of her cold is falling asleep in the middle of dinner.  “DON’T POST IT ON INSTAGRAM, DAD!” Madison shouted when she saw me laugh. “Why not?” I asked. “I’M TOO EMBARRASSED!” she screamed.

She’s not wrong, but it’s still sad. Madison’s 8 now and she’s become increasingly self-aware over the last year. About an hour after she banned me from posting it online, I asked her if I could put it in this post. She was hesitant, but I think she allowed me to place it here because she likes the blog. She likes reading it and reminiscing and learning things she was too young to appreciate or remember the first time around.

It might be too early to tell, but this could be the first sign of trouble. I’ve long feared that eventually Madison would request not to be featured so prominently (and transparently) in this space. I suppose I’d still have the twins to embarrass, but that’s not the same thing. Madison is my first child. Nothing will ever change that.

I’ve been rummaging through boxes of photos looking for one specific photo. I have not found it. What I have found instead are hundreds of pictures of Madison at various states of development. Two things are crystal clear: Mad was a cutie and she’s not my little girl anymore. Right now, she’s sitting on the couch with her towel wrapped around her hair. She’s playing a game on her iPad. Her legs are bunched up and they look like those which you’d find on a spider. Long. Pointy. The next five years – the space between 8 and 13 – might be more heartbreaking than giving up on my first love and watching the Mets lose the World Series twice combined. She’s going to grow up. She’s going to grow away. That’s the way of things, I suppose. While it lasts, then.

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