If you know my writing at all or have seen me talk about traditions you will know that my oldest daughter and I watch Survivor together.   Have for years.   It’s our thing.  We love it.  Gives us an excuse to eat 2 bags of the movie theater butter popcorn and lay of the couch for an hour a week, it’s a great little tradition.

This past season was different though.  For me, nothing ever really changes.  I work all day, eat dinner, and most every night I am free for whatever.  But, a 14 year, or more specifically, my 14 year old, is incredibly busy.  As I am sure most 14 year olds do, she has a million things happening.  And on top of all of it, she has tons of homework.  But, she is learning a ton.  Our conversations are about more and more complex things now, with the occasional “whose farts smell the worst you have ever smelled?”  still mixed in.  I love talking about big stuff, but I do find lots of humor in an old man talking farts with his daughter.  I’ll grow up physically, but mentally, I like being right around the age of 12.

So, with my daughter being so busy, we couldn’t find the time to watch every week.  We started to fall behind, would catch and episode on a Sunday if we could, but we ended up like7 episodes behind.  The season had ended and there was a winner already.

I mentioned it a few times to her about finding time to catch up, but, we couldn’t seem to find the time.  Then one day she said she had a few hours, let’s watch as many as we can.  So, I dropped whatever I was doing, whatever plan I had and we watched a couple episodes.  The next day I mentioned to my daughter that since the final episode aired do you want to just skip to that one and watch.  We knew all the players, we probably both could predict who would be in the final episode because we have watch about 10,000 hours of Survivor before.  But, she said she was mad I even asked and that we have to watch them all.  I’ll be honest; I thought Survivor was over for us.  I thought we had watched our last episodes together and that little tradition was over.  I was trying to give her an out, a way to let me down easy.  A way to show I wasn’t disappointed if she wanted to just quit.  But, she didn’t.   So, I did what I always do, I cried a little.  Just a few happy tears, collected myself and we watched every episode.  We fought about who we wanted to win, we yelled at the tv when someone made a dumb move and we ate way way too much buttered popcorn.

We finished watching the season.  A show that we both could watch with our eyes closed at this point.  There is nothing we haven’t seen on it.  But, I found out I wasn’t ready for her to quit.  I wasn’t as strong as I thought.  I wasn’t ready for her to grow up that quickly yet.  I talk a big game about how I love every phase of life my kids are in, I love thinking about what the future holds for them, but I’m not as ready as I thought I was to just hit the fast forward button.  I want a pause. 

I want to pause right now. I want to live in this very moment.  Survivor night will end in my house, I know it, I can feel it coming.  But, I was reminded when she would not let me fast forward that maybe, just maybe, she doesn’t yet hate the taste of buttered popcorn.  She doesn’t hate her Dad yet, so I’m still the luckiest man on the planet.  

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