I’ve never dated Taylor Swift, but she’s played a major role in my life.
You see, my 12-year-old daughter Nee is a huge Taylor Swift fan. And by huge fan, I mean an obsessed fanatic. She has Taylor Swift albums, T-shirts, posters, and a Taylor Swift trivia app on her phone. I hope a game-show producer creates a Taylor Swift version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire because my daughter would be the million-dollar winner.
Nee spends countless hours listening to Swift’s songs and memorizing the lyrics. Taylor Swift’s music is my daughter’s soundtrack for life. It gives her hope, cheers her up when she’s having a bad day, and makes her dance around in her room when she thinks no one is watching.
But Taylor Swift also gives me some insight into my daughter’s world. Two songs in particular — Fifteen, and Never Grow Up — have made me think about my daughter’s life and all that she and I will experience in the future.
Oh, darling, don’t you ever grow up, don’t you ever grow upJust stay this little — Taylor Swift, Never Grow Up
From the moment I saw my daughter, I was in love. I wanted her to remain a baby and hold her in my arms forever. But she didn’t stay little. She grew into a beautiful 12-year-old girl who loves music (Adele is also one of her favorites), books (she’s currently reading “Drama” by Raina Telgemeier), texting her friends (even if they’re standing right next to her), and making crafts out of duct tape. She also enjoys playing her clarinet and watching Superhero cartoons with me and her two brothers.
At 12, things seem so simple. Next year she will be a teenager, and everything will change. It’s interesting how a few months or years can transform a person’s life.
‘Cause when you’re fifteen and somebody tells you they love you
You’re gonna believe them – Taylor Swift, Fifteen
Nee will be 15 in less than three years. I often dread the teenage years because I know my daughter will start to pull away from me to form her own identity. During that journey, she will experience many different situations and emotions. She’ll make new friends, start dating, fall in love, and get her heart broken. As a dad, I want to protect her from that pain. But there is little I can do to prevent it. All I can do is show her how much I love and care for her while she’s 12 so she can enter her teenage years with a sense of security and confidence, and know that daddy will always be there to heal her broken heart.
But I don’t want Nee to place all of her focus on the future. I want her to enjoy being 12 — the simplicity, the freedom, the experiences that will happen only during this time. In fact, I’ve composed a few lyrics for Nee to ponder.
TwelveYour time as a tween are coming to an endAs you sit there texting your friendsI wish these moments were longerBut my love for you only grows strongerYou’re on the cusp of your teenage years,But your dad will always be hereTo wipe the tears from your eyesAnd make you smile when you cryEnjoy being 12 while you have the chanceHave fun, make music, and danceDo all the things you want to doAnd always remember your father’s love for you
Nee is fortunate because she has a family that loves her, friends who encourage her, and access to healthcare. Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a vaccine-preventable disease. Every year, 1.5 million children die of diseases that could have been prevented by a vaccine. Shot@Life, an initiative of The United Nations Foundation that educates, connects and empowers the championing of vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save the lives of children in the world’s most hard-to-reach places.
Throughout August, 31 bloggers are participating in Shot@Life’s Blogust, writing every day about moments that matter and raising awareness about vaccines. For each comment on this post and the 30 other posts, Walgreens will donate a vaccine (up to 50,000 vaccines). Sign up here for a daily email so you can quickly and easily comment and share every day during Blogust! Stay connected with Shot@Life at shotatlife.org, join the campaign on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.
P.S. – Taylor Swift, If you’re reading this post, let’s talk about your recording my song. Nee would love to play clarinet on the record and star in the video. Call me.