Time Is Killing My Little Girl

I have no right to do a post like this, because I am the luckiest guy in the world, and I know it.

There are parents who have experienced unspeakable loss that would give everything they have to get back just five minutes of what I get twenty-four hours a day.  I should be ashamed to write this post; to be the guy that complains about having to pay taxes after he wins the lottery.

But lately I can’t get over the feeling that I am losing my little girl.

The little girl that I never wanted.  The little girl that I was afraid of having.  My little girl, who gave the ambling, vapid, pointless, “too-cool-for-the-room” life I lived a purpose and a point the moment she came into this world.

I am terrified that she is dying, and not in purely figurative terms.

Last week I awoke suddenly in the dark morning hours with a terrible realization that the little six-year-old girl sleeping peacefully in the next room would someday cease to exist.  She would be gone.  Lost to the movement of time, with only digital remnants and memories of her left behind.

Yes, God willing she will still continue to grow and thrive, remaining as full of life as she is now.  I will still have that eleven year old, or sixteen, or twenty-one, or thirty year old to hug and hold.  But though I will love each one of them with every ounce of my being, I fear they will never fully soothe the loss of my little girl.

The little girl singing to her favorite song while doodling at the kitchen table.  The little girl who yells “daddy’s home” as she runs towards me to deliver a hug that negates the hardest day.  The little girl who still thinks I am the greatest person in the world and can protect her from anything bad.

I love that little girl so much.  I don’t want her to leave.  I don’t want her to go.  But I know she will.

Too many things are out there conspiring to “kill” her.

First Communion.  Nail polish and pierced ears.  Mean girls.  School dances.  First loves.  First broken heart.  They will all take a part of my little girl away from me.

As a child I hated the first day of school more than anything else.  It meant the end of carefree summer days, family vacations, and staying out til the street lights came on. But after high school it became irrelevant to me as the realities and responsibilities of adulthood took center stage.  I have learned to loathe it again.

It now signifies another year lost in my daughter’s childhood.  Another step closer to hearing things like “I am taking to the car out,” “he only has two piercings,” or “yea, I got accepted,” when reading a letter from that out-of-state college.

People tell me that this is part of “the cycle of life,” and that “growing up is a marvelous adventure,” and though factually right, it still does not relieve me of the urge to punch them right in the nose.

The worst thing about this all is that I haven’t been able to slow time down anymore.  It’s just been moving too fast.

When she was still a babe in arms, those days seemed to go on forever.  They seemed as if they would never end.  I felt so present, so lucid, so “in the moment” during those times.

Today we went to the park to fly her kite and I tried to slow each moment down, in a desperate attempt to grasp on to something I have no right to posses,  yet I couldn’t. All I could do was feel time slipping through my hands as I watched my little girl “die.”


Then something hit me like a ton of bricks and made me feel foolish.   I realized that I have been so focused on “losing” her lately that it has prevented me from fully embracing the time I have left with her as my little girl.  To lose this part of her life is sad but inevitable.  But to have “missed out” on any of that precious time due to my own emotional fatality would be inexcusable.

There is a moment in life that I call the “Golden Time.”  What that time “is” has varied for me over the years depending on what stage I was at in my life.

At one point it was the time between 5:00pm and 8:00pm on a Friday night when the work week was done and I could play my drums for three hours straight, while pounding a six-pack, before heading out to the bar with friends.

At another point it was before I had children of my own, when my god-daughter and her siblings were young.  My wife and I would go to my in-laws, where they would already be, and I would play with them in the cul-de-sac as we waited for dinner to be ready.  As the summer sun would set over the top of the neighboring houses, it would give off a light that seemed to envelop the scene with a magical warmth.

I have had so many “Golden Times” with my daughter I can’t count them all.  They have all come naturally and without effort.  But now I realized how important it is that I “make them” whenever I can, for as long as I can, with my less and less little girl.

So I stopped thinking.  I stopped worrying.  And I stopped fearing.  I went back to just “being” and scooped her up onto my shoulders.


I closed my eyes and listened to her voice and to the sound of the kite flapping in the wind.  I felt the sun shine down on us and the joy the moment brought me.  I was once again “present.”  I was able to slow time down again.  I was in the “Golden Time” with my little girl once more.

Her brother is just three.  He still seems like a babe, especially compared to his older sister, and it is easy now to think he will always be my little boy, though I know that is not true.  I need to remember what I have learned with my daughter so I don’t waste one moment of his childhood worrying about the “death” of my little boy instead of making all the time with him as “golden” as it can be.

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  • doubleosullivan

    Wonderful post Brian. Just stumbled
    across it via a link from Eddy on day trading. It just sums up exactly how I
    feel about my two little girls (10 and 7). I look back at pictures when they
    were little and I almost cant remember the occasions or even the girls
    themselves at that age. its almost as though Ive” lost” them already
    but of course I havent – i still have the memories, the pictures, the
    “moments” and they are both well and growing and developing. Ive a
    few friends that have lost children and it puts it all in perspective but I still
    understand what you mean. I am just thankful I have been around to see them
    grow up and wasn’t required for work to disappear for months on end like some
    of my buddies’. I loved the comment below about “the best day ever”
    - recently my 7 year old drew me a picture with that exact wording on it about
    a day out we recently had. Barry ritholtz would call that “recency bias!” take care my friend and enjoy your children
    every day – keep holding their hands, even when they are adults

  • http://www.facebook.com/tanallan Allan Tan

    You are rather good with creative writing and your imagination has got no limits. I myself just like you and Tony, a daughter with a younger brother. 1.5 yrs gap. Lovely children… I actually love my daughter so much that I can understand what you have written in this post.

    Keep up the good work, in whatever you are doing Brian…

    • http://bclund.com/ bclund

      Thanks for the nice words Allan and for supporting the blog, I appreciate it.

  • Tony

    Very well written piece, Brian, and eerily similar to my situation. My daughter is 6 and her brother just turned 4. I quit my crappy desk job and decided to become a day trader two years ago in part so I could spend more time with my kids. Although my trading results have been disappointing so far, it’s still the best decision I ever made. My daughter has grown to become too “cool” to hold my hand anymore, but she and my son are still the light of my life. I don’t take a minute spent with them for granted.

    • http://bclund.com/ bclund

      Your’re a good man!

      I guarantee you, no matter what happens with you trading, you will never regret the decision you made. We can never get these years with them back.

      And your kids will always remember the times that you WERE around, instead of away at your “crappy job.”

      Thanks for reading and thanks for the nice comments.

  • http://twitter.com/eaglepilot eaglepilot

    So many commonalities! As an older Dad (now 58) with a 16 yr old and a 12 yr old (both girls), I have watched some friends rush through the parenting thing, only to be regretful when the kids are grown. Hopefully, I have learned by observation.

    FWIW when your Daughter doesn’t want to hold your hand any more, it does not feel like a loss, but more of a gain, because you know that she is growing and maturing and doing everything you want her to do.
    I have indelible memories of some times with my girls, and most of them are what I call “moments”. One that you may relate to is, when I was driving my 12 yr old (then 10) to school, on a sunny day (after many cloudy days). Sitting beside me in the passenger seat with the family dog in her lap, she was looking out the window watching the traffic going by and singing a (then) popular song. At that moment, I did not want to be anywhere else or anything else than her Dad, driving her to school.
    Another time was when I was walking past the bathroom, and my wife was standing behind my older daughter, both looking into the mirror, as my wife did my daughter’s hair. They were talking about something or the other, quite minor in fact, but it again was a “moment”.

    Hopefully, you’ll have many “moments” as well.

    • http://bclund.com/ bclund

      Yes, I know exactly what you mean. There are times when I have those “moments” as you say, and time freezes, and I say to myself, “when I am 85 years old, I will look back, remember this exact moment and smile.”

      Thanks for reading and for supporting the blog. I appreciate it.

  • Chris

    Spent the day with my 7 year old checking out horse barns so she can ride that horse she has been dreaming about. She seems so young and I worry about her being on a ‘huge’ horse and possibly getting hurt. That fear evaporated when she said, “daddy, this is my best day ever.” Letting go is so hard but essential. All we can do is spend as much time as possible with them. Thanks for making my day better!

    • http://bclund.com/ bclund

      Glad you like the post and thanks for supporting the blog.

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  • http://www.thebasispoint.com/ The Basis Point

    great post.

    • http://bclund.com/ bclund

      Thank you my friend.

  • R Wayne

    Feel your pain Brian. I try not to even think about the kids hitting the teen years. Just enjoy the moments (like when they just want to hold your hand as you walk around the store).

    • http://bclund.com/ bclund

      isn’t that the best….? Will break me heart the first time they say “I don’t want to hold your hand daddy.”

  • CognitiveBias1

    Really hits to the bone. I’ve got young kids and it feels like sand slipping away in the palm of your hands. Just focus on present and don’t worry. Worry will come on its own with or without your worrying.

    • http://bclund.com/ bclund

      sand slipping….exactly.

  • odyssey

    the good thing is that you learn before it was to late, enjoy your life

  • http://twitter.com/TrdrFlridaEvans Florida Evans

    My son is 26 and on food stamps. I can’t tell you how much I’d like him to get a job and get out of the house. Nice post.

  • http://twitter.com/tahoejack Jack

    I know the feeling but relax it stays good and gets better in different ways – for another 6 years. THIRTEEN – be afraid. My little girl turned 24 this past weekend.

    • http://bclund.com/ bclund

      I dread 13 when some idiot guy like me knocks on the door :)

  • sillysayings

    Some wise guy said: don’t cry that it is over, smile that it happened.

  • reformedbroker

    My little girl is 6 and her little brother is 3. I can’t even tell you much I can relate to this, thanks Brian.