A to Z Challenge: T is for Time


Our kids have the capacity to amaze us, don’t they?

CD az challengeToday for the A to Z Challenge, T is for Time. It’s like we wind them up as babies, and spend the rest of the time watching them go. Just imagine how things will be around the dinner table as they get older and begin to explore the world around them. Time starts ticking and it won’t ever stop.

CD loyalist Janine Huldie wrote earlier this year a post titled Happy Lily Surprise.

She rightfully gushed about the surprises her daughter has bestowed upon her in a few happy years on earth. If you’re an aspiring parent who can’t shoulder/stomach/manage surprise by the dumpsterful … You might reconsider.

Here are a handful of surprises each of my girls flung on me in 17 years of fatherhood.

Elise and the obstacle course


Elise and I visited an inflatable obstacle course in the parking lot of a Tallahassee Publix. “I wanna go, daddy,” my 4-year-old girl said. Back then, I let her do almost anything. Almost.

Elise waited her turn, then climbed up the ramp and disappeared into the bouncy beyond.

I waited forever.

Kids who went in after Elise bounced out the back. I could see her chubby fingers crest the final wall, then a foot … only to see her tumble back. I worried that she’d get hurt, or at least discouraged. Until I saw her face make it over – and the huge smile. Even when she fell back a couple more times.

“I didn’t give up, daddy,” she said. Thirteen years later, she still doesn’t.

Marie and the sports camp


Marie at age 4 wasn’t the sporty slick girl you see before you today. Back then, dresses and tiaras were the thing. I took a middle school girls team I coached to a sports camp at Davidson College. Elise and Marie tagged along. The day included pizza and a basketball game – and an all-sports camp.

Marie didn’t want to camp. At all.

I took her to the field and left her with friendly co-eds who showed her how to hold a lacrosse stick. With her attention diverted, I snuck to the stands to watch. Not until I reached a perch at about the 50 yard line did Marie notice I’d ditched her. I could read the snarl from a mile away!

Each time she changed stations, she sought me out and glared on her way there. Ten years later, Marie still conveys just how she feels to me, often without a word.

Grace and the comedy show


I don’t know where she got it – Grace has this penchant for the goofy. She’s had it since she was a baby. Despite societal pleas to keep it under control, Grace unabashedly embraced the gift. She delighted in having her older sisters home from school with her for the day – but neither sister was a great playmate.

Both were sick.

Grace dragged out a low-riding pink rocking horse to the middle of the living room. She rocked back and forth, her sisters unaware of the show about to start. The rocks became more severe, until Grace toppled over the handles and onto the floor. About 17 times.

Her sisters giggled and forgot about fevers for a bit. Seven years later, she’s still daddy’s clown princess.

Our kids have the capacity to amaze us, don’t they?

Time starts ticking and it won’t ever stop.

time quote


  1. Lyn says:

    A lovely post for the A-Z challenge, Eli 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thank you Lyn. I can see the finish line from here!

  2. A, I loved this so much, Eli and seriously our girls really do have their own special way of surprising us time and again! 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks for the inspiration in your post, JH!

      1. Aw, thank you for the shout out here, too!!! 😉

  3. ksbeth says:

    i have never failed to be amazed by my 3 daughters. i understand completely.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s amazing that they can amaze us so. or is it?

  4. Love the retro pics and the stories 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I don’t think I’ll ever run out of pics and stories with these girls.

      1. And that’s the way it should be!

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        This challenge has reminded me, though, that posting isn’t even half of blogging.

  5. jmgoyder says:

    Beautiful post!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      So glad you liked it.

  6. A.PROMPTreply says:

    What lucky girls to have such an appreciative father and what a lucky father to have three such perfect girls!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      We’re generally pretty good to each other, even when we’re hungry. Mostly.

  7. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Wow, I wonder where Grace could possibly have gotten that goofy streak from? 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      My best guess is some sort of environmental anomaly.

  8. mocadeaux says:

    I wish I had written down more of the sweet surprises over the years. Time has diminished my powers of recollection. Thanks for sharing these beautiful stories!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      The early ones have gotten a bit fuzzy, Mo. Thanks for reading about my sweet girls.

  9. Kim says:

    Cute stories!!
    I agree that time keeps ticking – a bit too fast for my liking these days.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Kim. Even though the watch in the picture I used at the top of that post has stopped running, time hasn’t slowed a bit.

  10. laurie27wsmith says:

    From gurgling child to angry teen,
    then solemn man who hasn’t seen
    a day come round without the pain
    a life still lived, yet not in vain.
    He wakes each day
    and asks, ‘Shall I stay?’
    Yet time moves on
    and I know that he’ll be gone,
    long before me. Time?
    If only I could hold back time.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      That says it all mate. Beautiful.

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        Thanks Mate.

  11. firebailey says:

    This right here is my favorite post of your A-Z challenge.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Kerri – I hate that it’s four days later that I could thank you. This is the downfall of this challenge – the time it takes! (a weekend out-of-town tournament also doesn’t help!)

  12. tamaralikecamera says:

    I thought T was for Tamara!
    That said, those great photos and stories make me think I was initially wrong.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      only in April is T not for Tamara.

  13. roweeee says:

    Loved the Dr Suess quotes and really appreciated meeting your daughters. They’re gorgeous and I love all those anecdotal trips down memory lane. They’re lucky to have such a loving and involved Dad!
    My T was Traveling Teacups https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/traveling-tea-cups/
    Out of homage to my grandmothers, I collect antique and vintage tea cups, which I’ve photographed all over the place xx Rowena

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      They’re a beautiful mess, these three. I love each of those memories. I’m lucky to have girls who (mostly) let me along for the ride.

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