Maybe it would help if my kid, currently age thirteen but who thinks she’s going on twenty, wasn’t named Anna.

Snap her up in a butterfly net-
Pin her down on a photograph album
I am not worried
I’ve done this sort of thing before

With my kid’s upcoming trip to DC staring me in the face I’m starting to once again realize just how quickly time moves when you’re not paying attention. It seems like it was just yesterday when her biggest concerns revolved around how many girl scout cookies she could sell or what color(s) to paint her room. She was so easy to please and eager to listen that I must have somehow subconsciously rationalized that it would stay that way forever.

It’s not that I couldn’t have seen it coming. After all, later this year I’m scheduled to become a grandfather twice over from my other two girls. Like the song says, “I’ve done this sort of thing before.”

But then I start to think about the consequences
Because I don’t get no sleep in a quiet room and...
This time when kindness falls like rain
It washes me away
and Anna begins change my mind
And every time she sneezes I believe its love
And oh lord....
I’m not ready for this sort of thing

I didn’t see it coming. I hate being blindsided, especially when I did it to myself. Now I worry when goes she out with her friends to shopping centers or to the movies. Now, its boys, dances and the latest fashions and for some reason I find myself laying awake at night worrying about where she is and when she’ll make her way home.

She s talking in her sleep
it s keeping me awake
And Anna begins to toss and turn
And every word is nonsense but I understand it and
Oh lord.
I m not ready for this sort of thing

And then the phone rings and I hear her voice or the door opens and she comes bopping in all smiles and giggly and I feel a certain sense of relief I never thought was possible.

And then when she goes to bed I begin to wonder about the next time…

Or three years from now when some of her friends will have cars and the horizons will expand even further.

Her kindness bangs a gong
It’s moving me along
and Anna begins to fade away
It s chasing me away.
she disappears,
and oh lord
I’m not ready for this sort of thing

And then one day in the not too distant future she’ll be on her own. She’s already making overtures about which college she’d like to attend. For now, Cornell is first on the list but I’m sure that’s gonna change as time moves on.

I’ve already got a mental image that consists of me and my ex waving goodbye and wiping back tears as she boards that plane and waves back as she makes her way down the gateway or crosses through security.

I'll say it again, as the song says, “I’m not ready for this sort of thing.”

But she will be…

And in the grand scheme of things, that’s probably much more important…

(Selected lyrics lifted from the song of the same name originally released on “August and Everything After” by the Counting Crows in 1993)