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Excerpt from What Next, Papa? by Steve Almond

"I'm starting to grow up, Papa," she says suddenly.

And there's a moment, a strange, thrilling, terrifying moment, where the truth of this statement rears back and socks me in the heart. I'm sitting with my sick two-year-old daughter in my lap, staring at the blazing cuffs of her ears, feeling the weight of her, breathing in her hair, and it's all so fleeting, the chance to love her with such uncomplicated fervour, such uncensored declaration. This reaction is sappy and absurd, as are most of my reactions to the world. But the gravity of her statement makes me suspect Josie has sniffed out the secret power of every childhood, which is that it ends little by little, … that each moment … brings her a little closer to escape.

She's started her getaway. Soon I'll be seeing her off to school, then summer camp; … then she'll go off to college and major in something stupid and I'll go bald and tell her she can move wherever she wants, the world is her oyster, if she doesn't mind dynamiting her old man's heart.

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From What Next, Papa? The magic of the father/daughter relationship by Steve Almond,

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