As the school year comes to a close, emotional parents of high school seniors are coming to grips with the reality that they will be letting go of their babies soon. And as much as it sounds cliche, it really does go by in the blink of an eye. Many will say it seems like just yesterday that their graduate was just going into 1st grade. Well one dad’s video—of interviews with his daughter every first day of school from 1st through 12th grade—shows just how quickly our kids grow up. 

Originally shared on Jukin Media, and now on Bad Parenting Moments’s Facebook page, the video begins with a casual chat—Dad and Mackenzie. Mackenzie is six, which she adorably can’t remember for a couple moments, and she’s about to enter 1st grade. Dad then skips forward 13 years to his daughter’s first day of her senior year. It’s hard to believe she’s the same girl, sitting there, about to be interviewed by her father. While 6-year-old Mackenzie is hyper and can’t sit still, teenage Mackenzie is calm and frankly seems a bit bored with the whole thing, as teenagers typically are. But when the music starts and Dad turns back time again, you start to realize just how special these interviews are.

Young Mackenzie reminds me of my kids—who are about to enter 3rd, 1st, and pre-k in the fall. They are silly and love to play and think their teachers are so cool. Young Mackenzie’s favorite parts of the first day of school include “coloring” and “playing with Mackenzie” (the other Mackenzie in class). But watching her grow up, her face change, and her comments shift from talking about playing to talking about homework, your motherhood heart starts to ache. And then suddenly the bouncy little girl is gone, and she’s a middle schooler. Dad admits that “he had a heart time with it” when Mackenzie went into 8th grade as that’s her last year before high school—something we as parents can all relate to.

Perhaps the most noticeable change is between 8th and 9th grades. As the 9th grade first day of school interview begins, we see a very mature young woman sitting where a child used to sit. And she’s quite excited to start high school! Dad does well, despite having admitted that he’s sad, and seems genuinely happy for his daughter, saying “You survived your first day of high school and you rode the bus! Big day.”

He also handles himself far more calmly than many parents would when she admits that in 10th grade, she’s most excited for football games and spent her first day “looking for cute boys.” The way she feels comfortable sharing that with Dad speaks volumes about their relationship and the respect they have for each other. Even when you watch the yawns and looks of annoyance in the 11th and 12th grade interviews, you know she loves her father. She may have griped about doing the interview, but she did it. Because it’s tradition. And now she has a keepsake to treasure forever.

The 12th grade interview ends by Mackenzie saying she most looks forward to “prom and graduation” and then Dad cuts to all of the previous interviews, each of which he ends by telling his daughter he loves her. As we watch Mackenzie grow in reverse, back to a 6-year-old, we know that even if Dad hadn’t said it 13 times, it’s obvious. This is a father who dearly loves his little (now big) girl. And they are lucky to have such a beautiful bond. We wish Mackenzie and all of the 2017 graduates our congratulations and best of luck as they venture out into the world.

Karen Johnson

Karen Johnson is a freelance writer who is known on social media as The 21st Century SAHM. She is an assistant editor at Sammiches and Psych Meds, staff writer and social media manager for Scary Mommy, and is the author of I Brushed My Hair Today, A Mom Journal for Mostly Together Moms. Follow Karen on Facebook, Twitter , and Instagram