It won't always go by this fast, will it? Please tell me it slows down, at least a little bit.
One week from today, my daughter Charley will officially be 4 years old.
Wait, four? FOUR? Yep, four.
I'm not sure where the last four years went.
It seems like just a minute ago we were in the hospital, my wife going into labor five weeks early. I was nervous, scared, excited. I had no clue what I was doing or what I was about to get into.
Four of the best years of my life later, and things are getting better every day.
My daughter is an amazing creature. She's smart and sweet and considerate. She's my heart, my girl, my best friend.
And she's coachable. Ask her her favorite team, she'll tell you it's the Gamecocks. Ask her if she likes the Georgia Bulldogs and she'll tell you she likes them more than Clemson, "but not more than anybody else."
"Because they're low-down, dirty dogs."
We had that one worked out before she could even count to 10.
HERE LATELY, WE'VE DEVELOPED a little routine each night where Charley comes back to mommy and daddy's bedroom and "snuggles" for a few minutes before she goes to her bedroom for the night.
Basically, "snuggling" is short for "reading Dora the Explorer books, watching 'Wizard of Oz' clips on the iPad and stretching bedtime out a few minutes longer every night."
On Wednesday evening, I was in the bedroom watching the presidential debate. Charley came in and climbed right up next to me. The conversation then went as follows:
Charley: "What is this?"
Me: "Well, babes, the man in the blue tie is Barack Obama. He's the President of the United States. The man in the red tie is Mitt Romney. He wants to be the president. You know how daddy writes about elections at work? Well, Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney are going to have an election. This is a debate. It's kind of like a competition."
Charley (after watching for a few minutes): "When is the man in the blue tie going to get to talk?
Charley: "Which one's winning?"
Me: "I don't know. It looks like Mr. Romney is winning right now, hon."
Charley: "Well ... I think I like Alabama."
Me: "No, no, no. Not 'Alabama.' It's Obama.
Charley: (Pause) "Well ... I think I'll just call him Alabama."
I was going to get into the intricacies of the electoral college with her, but I think we'll work on this "Alabama, Obama" thing first.
And while most pundits chalked up the first debate to Romney, I'm sure the president will take heart in knowing he captured the Charley Trainor snuggle-time demographic. I think it was the blue tie.
BEFORE YOU HAVE KIDS, you look at other parents and think, "Oh, it will different for us. We won't act like that."
But it's not. You'll have the same concerns as seemingly every parent.
My wife always - ALWAYS - thinks Charley is going to be too cold. She is forever suggesting the child wear "a little jacket."
"When you take her to school, you make sure you put a little jacket on her. It's cool out there," my wife will tell me.
"But ... it's June," I'll reply.
"JUST PUT A LITTLE LIGHT JACKET ON HER!" my wife finally orders.
I'll admit, unless it's winter, I usually bypass the jacket.
We wonder if she's eating enough, if she's learning enough, if she's growing at the appropriate rate.
We worry about things that haven't even started happening yet.
Should we send her to public school? Private school? What about college? How much is that going to cost? How are we going to pay for it? What if she wants to go to *gulp* Clemson???
What if she starts hanging around with the wrong crowd when she gets older? What about when she starts driving? What should her curfew be? What if she brings home a boyfriend we don't like?
(She currently has an unexplained crush on Index-Journal photographer Matt Walsh. The next time she mentions his name, I'm taking him down to the basement and showing him my hatchet collection. No girl of mine will date a man who wears fingerless gloves and depends on things like "available light" to make his living. A photographer. Geez. What have I done wrong, Lord?)
But, for now, there is much more joy than concern. As she approaches the robust age of four, my daughter is my world.
She loves Mickey Mouse and going to the movies and staying up late and playing with dolls and reading books and helping her mom make dinner.
She's loves Noah's Ark Preschool and the Abbeville Panthers and, perhaps most of all, Dorothy Gale from the "Wizard of Oz." And she loves Halloween. Anyone who knows me will know she really had no other choice on that one.
And, apparently, if the election was tomorrow, Alabama would have her vote.
Four years. Gone in the blink of an eye.
It won't always go by this fast, will it?
Trainor is the senior staff writer at the Index-Journal. Contact him at 943-5650; email email@example.com. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper's opinion.