1. STOP GROWING! My youngest recently turned fourteen. Overnight it seems like she grew another four inches, so that now both of my daughters are nearly as tall as I am. It does not feel right that they stand close to eye level with me. Maybe that’s why an old picture of them standing in front of me at half their current heights now has a prominent place on my desk.

2. PERFECT TIMING. The Rockettes may have mastered synchronicity, but they’re no more impressive than a group of teen girls whose heads tilt in perfect simultaneity when you take their picture. (Apparently, teen girls are incapable of posing for a photo without the head tilt. At least they no longer raise their hands to their chests with two fingers lifted into the victory sign!)

3. RHETORICAL OVERLOAD. Do you know what’s really weird? How often my youngest starts a statement with that question. (At least this habit gives me the opportunity to provide answers like “Elephants in high heels” or “Peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches,” retorts which I found some humor in, but my daughter absolutely none.)

4. SPRING BREAK. Every year, the April school break gives us a great opportunity to book our favorite hotel on Cape Cod, frolic in its heated swimming pool, take advantage of the off-season dearth of lines at our favorite restaurants, relax, read and play board games in our adjoining hotel rooms, and basically all four of us share the full length of every day together in close quarters – to see which one of us will be the first to crack.

5. QUIET TIME. Going out to see a movie together should give couples at least a 90-minute respite from spousal negotiations. But apparently even in that short of a time span there are a lot of things I do that need correcting – like turning around to glare at the teenager who won’t stop kicking my chair; too loudly “sshh-ing” the older gentleman across the aisle who insists on telling his wife, in full voice, the name of every actor who appears on the screen; taking the last three handfuls of popcorn for myself; and coming back from a pee run and whisper-asking about what I missed in the middle of a critical scene. Maybe it’s not surprising that when we get home, my wife occasionally asks for some “alone time.” At least, since we’re avid moviegoers, I have plenty of opportunities to practice at getting better. (And no, I’ve never once committed all four of the aforementioned crimes in the same movie. Yeesh, I’m not that annoying.)

Father with daughters as toddlers, then teens
TIME, SLOW DOWN! I blinked and this happened.

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