David Trinko: Enjoying the immaturity of an 8-year-old

We danced together outside the store. We sang along to songs we barely knew. We chased each other around the house.

My older daughters would’ve rolled their eyes and complained about how immature my wife and I are. Fortunately, they weren’t around to ruin our fun with our 8-year-old daughter.

I hear from a lot of parents about how sad it is when you have an empty nest. No one ever told me how much fun it was when there was only one bird left.

With two teenagers and a 21-year-old daughter, they’ve all hit that stage where they want to be anyplace but near mom and dad. They’ve loaded up their weekends with their own plans, at best including us in them to serve as drivers or support staff.

That left my wife and me alone with our playful third-grader. We’ve traded a full house for one wild card the last several weekends.

We don’t get to see the world through her eyes when her older sisters are around. All she wants to do is be more like them, which means growing up too soon. Her language straddles the line between sassy and disrespectful. Her free time is spent staring at devices. She acts like a miniature teen when they’re around.

It all changes when they’re gone, and she can revert to enjoying life like a child really should. She’s not poisoned by the belief that mom and dad are just embarrassing figures you must endure. Instead, they can actually be fun.

And for us, it’s refreshing to see the world through the eyes of an 8-year-old again. I’ve always thought of playing with my children as acting about a year younger than the child. And frankly, it’s a lot more fun to pretend to be 7 than pretending to be 20 again.

Last weekend, all she wanted to do was eat pizza and watch “Hocus Pocus 2.” On Friday, it was eating McDonald’s, baking cookies and listening to silly Halloween songs. We learned to measure the amount of time between batches of cookies based on the number of singalong songs.

She giggled a lot. We giggled a lot. We accepted any compliments she had for us, including that we’re pretty cool parents and that she liked hanging out with us.

We already know from watching her older siblings that this time is fleeting. She’s the last of our four daughters, after all. She’ll grow closer to her friends and farther from her parents. That’s the natural transition for children.

As for us, we’ll have our memories of those days when she didn’t think we were the most embarrassing people on the earth, even if we might have been as we danced outside the store, sang along loudly and ran around the house like no one was watching.


See past columns by David Trinko at LimaOhio.com/tag/trinko.

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David Trinko is editor of The Lima News. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.