I have a little over four years.
Then my daughter will be 18 and she'll be moving on to another part of her life.
I'm visualizing some sort of planetary shift; a realization that I am not the center of her universe and she will no longer be the center of mine.
This makes me sad beyond words. And yet I know it's right.
It's profound how we come to be, the potential that manifests as cells divide and differentiate.
Every beautiful thing about this child was contained within the fragile walls of minute cells. The mysteries of the universe holding breath and then the miracle of her.
She is perhaps no more miraculous than any other child, but she is mine, and to me, she is every holy thing.
The time we have together like this, in this place, is nearing an end.
She has already eclipsed me.
That is as it should be and I am glad.
She has just now in the past week grown past my height, and when she puts her arm around me, it's over my shoulder, not across my back.
She still asks me to help to brush her hair some mornings before school, and I find myself reaching up to part her hair instead of looking down into the tangle.
She'll still reach for my hand when we walk together, not because she's afraid to cross the street alone or she's afraid of getting lost.
My daughter is fearless.
She's not afraid of anything, not the future, not afraid to find her place in the world.
She's looking the universe dead in the eye. She's not going to blink first.
My daughter reaches out to hold my hand because she loves me. She doesn't suffer fools lightly, and yet she is uncommonly gentle with me, the biggest fool that ever was.
A simple gesture.
She reaches out for my hand.
I hold tight.