Photo credit: Robin Malmanger

By Dave Markwell

Arriving home yesterday after work, I performed my daily ritual of popping by my 17-year old daughter’s room to say “hello”, and ask about her day. I typically stand at the door and say nice things and move on with my biz. Yesterday, she beckoned me inside. Odd, but ok. She pointed to her closet area. Hanging there, I saw her cap and gown for high school graduation.

As usual, in moments like this, my girl stared at me with a wry smile waiting for the waterworks. I was cool and felt many things, but didn’t cry. She wasn’t finished with me. She knows I’m a weak-kneed softy for sentiment. She told me to go check the freezer. Again, weird, but ok.

Sitting high on top of frozen fruit and tater tots was a box of mini-pancakes. These damn things hit me harder than the cap and gown. They were a staple in our home for many, many years. They were her go-to meal or snack or just make-me-do-something-for-her vehicle for a long time. I don’t recall when she stopped liking them or out-grew them, but I haven’t seen them in quite a while.

I suspect life got a little real when she picked up her graduation gear, perhaps she got a little nostalgic for a simpler time, so maybe she bought her first box of mini-pancakes to go back in time. I’ve bought hundreds of them. And, I’d like to go back to some of those times, too. I get it. They were some nice times.

As I sit remembering things, I feel my time-delayed tears gathering as I blink fast to slow them down. Life moves on. My baby girl’s time with me is moving on, too. It’s as it should be. It’s life. But, it’s still sad when it does. I’m not concerned about becoming obsolete. I know her too well, and she knows me too well, too. She’ll always need me, at least as a reminder of how much she’s loved. Damn pancakes. Yep, she knows me, too.

Dave Markwell is a life-long Des Moines liver and lover. Former owner of Waterland CrossFit and the Waterland Arcade, Dave is now using his unique story-telling voice to help small businesses tell a better story, and his love for people to help folks live bigger and better lives.

For more info. check out his website:

He can be contacted at:


Founder/Publisher/Editor. Three-time National Emmy Award winning Writer (“Bill Nye the Science Guy”), Director, Producer, Journalist and more...