Comic Captures The Complex Emotions Parents Feel As They Watch Their Kids Grow Up

"I just want to hold her for a bit longer ..."

Comic fans may have already heard of writer and artist Dan Dougherty. After all, he's been producing the Beardo Comics since 2006 – an "almost entirely autobiographical" series that follows the bearded main character's dream of being an artist as he tackles life's common growing pains. The comics have earned Dougherty a devoted following because they touch on universal struggles that many of us can relate to.

The Chicago-based illustrator recently wrote a Beardo comic that was inspired by his 2-year-old daughter, Audrey, about what it's like for a parent to watch their child grow up.  

The heartfelt comic is impacting parents and kids alike because of the complex mix of emotions depicted.

It's even more poignant because Dougherty decided it would be the last one in the "Beardo Comics" series.

Dougherty told HuffPost how his daughter has frequently inspired his work, even if she is too young to fully realize it. He created the recent comic because he felt time was moving too fast with her. The cartoonist and International School of Comics teacher, didn't intend for it to be the final one when he started it, but once he finished, he knew it was the right conclusion.

"Once I saw it, I knew it was my mic-drop moment for the book and the series," he said.

The comic begins with the dad, Beardo, lovingly cradling his baby daughter. With each frame time goes by and we see the family hitting major milestones, such as Beardo teaching his daughter to walk, her first day of elementary school, her first day of high school, and her graduation. 

Towards the end, we see the older-looking Beardo walking his adult daughter down the aisle, and Skyping her in 2040. He's then surprised by his pregnant daughter and her baby. 

The comic concludes by flashing back to the past with the main character holding his baby daughter once again. His wife asks him, "Hey, why don't you put her in the stroller?"

And Beardo responds, "I just want to hold her for a bit longer ... It's a long walk and it will be over before we know it."

Dougherty admitted to HuffPost that he gets teary-eyed when he thinks about Audrey growing up. And strangers are also reacting to the sentimental comic on social media.

"The feels got a hold of me," someone said on Instagram.

A Twitter user wrote, "Totally teared-up looking at this @Beardocomics perfectly shows what a mixed feeling of proudness [sic] & grieving watching kids growing up is."

One Instagram user said, "Well, this made me tear up. Beautifully done."

In response to the praise for the last comic and for years of loyal fans, Dougherty posted a heartfelt letter on Facebook.

He wrote, "Thank you again for accompanying me on this journey. Comics are my life because of me, but they're my livelihood because of you."


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