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She’s all grown up now

By Mark Carpenter – 

I guess it is the moment that every Dad dreads.  That moment when he realizes that his little girl is pretty much all grown up.  It inevitably has to happen, but that doesn’t mean I have to like the fact that my girl turns 24 tomorrow.
I honestly don’t remember too much about the day Kelsey was born.  The most I can recall is that I was given some scrubs, taken into a room, and soon had scissors in my hand with instructions to cut some strange looking cord.  I never realized at the time how many times over 24 years that I would be cutting that cord.  I have seen all these photos on social media recently of parents taking their kids off to college for the first time, so I know those people can relate to my plight.
Those days of sitting on the front porch counting the trucks that drove by, or dressing up Barbie dolls, or watching Rugrats and the Big Comfy Couch, those days have disappeared.  That has changed into phone calls saying “That eclipse was underwhelming.”
Since this column is on the sports pages, I should talk about sports, which isn’t hard with Kelsey, since she definitely has that part of her Dad’s DNA.  After all those years of Pee-Wee Basketball, SAY Soccer, and Little League softball quickly translated into her becoming one of the top female athletes ever at her high school.  Allow me to be the boasting father when I say that she holds a distinction that few in the Southern Hills Athletic Conference do, All-Conference in four sports her senior year.  Most all her high school games are on tape here somewhere in the man cave, and someday I will start watching them all again.
That high school career moved into college careers in soccer and basketball, where unfortunately we missed most of her away games because of work and time constraints, that by the way were extremely frustrating.  But we always knew that she was having experiences she would never forget and making lifelong friends, so it was worth every penny.
Kelsey graduated college with no sweat (likely got her academic talent from her mother and her athletic prowess from her father, though her mother might disagree), and I would have never dreamed that my daughter would one day be an employee of the Cincinnati Reds.  Could I have ever dreamed that all those times I was sitting in Riverfront Stadium?  (Yep, boasting Dad again.)  But the down side is that she is now all grown up and independent, well if calling your mother 10 times a day is totally independent.  I really don’t mind that, keeps them both happy.  I get the occasional call, such as the one on Monday, but I get plenty of bobbleheads so it’s a good trade-off.  But allow me to assure all the Dads out there who let their little girls head off to college recently, the “Dad National Bank” never closes.
So now I have to deal with the little girl all grown up, the little girl who travels all over the place and doesn’t need to take Mom and Dad, and the little girl who turns 24 tomorrow.  With the crazy schedules that we have going on these days, I probably won’t even see her on her birthday, but we’ve all come to accept that as the way things are now.  If the kids are happy and OK, we can handle being an hour away.
I guess I blinked and 24 years flew by.  As I have written many times, life is made up of moments, savor every one of the,  Today I am savoring 24 years worth.


  1. Mark,
    I had the pleasure of coaching Kelsey for one season of basketball. She is a great kid. It is amazing how quickly they grow up.

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