MANCHESTER, CT—Saying they were becoming closed-off adults right before his very eyes, local father Peter Halfon, 49, described to reporters Wednesday his continued amazement at how quickly his kids are growing distant.
Halfon, who said he is unable to believe how cold his 18-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son have gotten, reluctantly admitted to reporters that the years when his children spent all day playing, laughing, and acknowledging his existence seemed to pass in a heartbeat.
“You always hear people talk about how quickly kids grow detached, but you never really understand until you’re actually a parent,” said Halfon, explaining that he always knew his children would not remain little kids who cared what he had to say forever, but hardly anticipated the changes happening so abruptly. “One minute you’re listening to them tell you everything they learned that morning in preschool, and the next you realize you can’t name a single one of their interests or friends’ names.”
“It seems like they go from being tiny, helpless infants to teenagers who actively wish you weren’t a part of their lives overnight,” he continued. “You just shake your head and think to yourself: Where did the time and any shred of affection go?”
Sharing some of his favorite memories, the father of two recalled car rides to day care and Little League with his young children in the backseat, admitting that it still sometimes shocks him that they are now old enough to drive on their own to wherever it is that they go. Halfon then quietly laughed before telling reporters that he swore “it was only yesterday” he was rocking his daughter to sleep in the bedroom he is no longer allowed in.
In addition, Halfon suggested that new parents cherish their children while they are still young, expressing his astonishment at just how much time has gone by since his son and daughter said their first words or anything at all to him.
“You really notice how much your kids have grown apart during those big milestones,” said Halfon, citing his son’s first after-school job he was never informed of and his daughter’s senior musical, which he only learned about through Facebook photos. “My son, Michael, just left to go hang out with his girlfriend whom he has no desire to ever introduce me to, and I still can’t believe my daughter, Elizabeth, is now searching for colleges without me.”
“I just have to accept that she’s no longer a little girl who speaks and makes eye contact with me,” Halfon added.
Explaining that it is simply a part of life, Halfon told reporters that, before he knows it, his children will be moving out of the family home that they mentally checked out of years ago. The local father then added that it’s only a matter of time before he hears that his children have found apartments of their own, started their careers, and settled down with partners, likely during brief once-per-month conversations when his kids finally decide to return his phone calls.
Additionally, Halfon marveled that the day was not far off when his children would have remote, alienated children of their own.
“Sometimes I forget that Elizabeth and Michael are practically fully estranged adults now,” said Halfon, looking through old family photos from when his daughter hadn’t yet learned to walk or ignore him entirely. “You catch yourself expecting them to call you Daddy instead of resentfully scoffing at your presence, like they’re 5 years old again. But I just have to remind myself those days are over.”
“At this point,” added Halfon, “I just have to step back and let them go off and do, well—I don’t know—whatever it is they like doing.”
As of press time, Halfon’s children had completely disregarded their father’s requests for comment.