I stood inside the gym shooting baskets and listened to her giggle. She counted down 5…4…3…2…1 and then I launched a series of shots from all around the basket. She didn’t care whether they went in or not. Half the time she was barely paying attention but when she was she clapped and cheered for me and I smiled.
What can I say, my children make me smile. Sometimes they make me crazy, but most of the time they make me smile. They are a big part of why I do what I do and a central part of why I have been blogging for so many years. This joint is chock full of stories about them.
Last weekend we had a tea party for my daughter’s birthday party. She and a group of her friends went to town with this. I watched these little girls do their best to imitate their moms and big sisters. Dressed in hats they drank from real China tea cups, ate little sandwiches and engaged in girl talk. I don’t know everything they dicussed, but that is because I was told that boys had to leave the room.
As I walked away I heard them all giggling and I wondered what life would look like in about five or six years. A million different thoughts flashed through my mind and I remembered the 4.5 year-old version of my daughter asking me why Ken and Barbie didn’t look like real people.
I have that Tumbleweed Crossing feeling inside my head now. That is because today was the last day of school.
I am fairly certain that some big changes are about to take place for my family. My children have attended one school. They started there in preschool and then moved on up through the ranks. And now I look back at snapshots in time and remember what it was like the night before my son started kindergarten.
In a corner of the living room my father, grandfather and I shared stories about what school was like for us. The kindergarten classes of 1919, 1948 and 1974 recounted tales that in some ways will not be so different from the class of 2006.
Six years later the kindergarten class of 1919 is only remembered in spirit and the class of 2006 is entering middle school.
He is old enough now to ask more sophisticated questions about school and life in general. He wants me to explain the fundamental differences between schools so that he can determine whether he thinks a private school education is more valuable than public. He asks me if I ever regret not becoming a doctor or deciding not to go to law school.
That is because he views those professions as being ones that provide a healthy paycheck and he thinks that maybe money would help provide additional opportunities. I tell him that is right about some of it, money can provide additional opportunities but I remind him that there is more to life than money.
We are unlikely to ever be the poorest or the wealthiest family. We’ll end up somewhere in the middle. He nods his head and I know that he understands. I don’t have any doubts that he and his sister will adapt and thrive wherever they go next year.
It Is An Adventure
I tell the kids that life is an adventure and that it doesn’t have to make sense. We all have our filters that influence our experiences which is part of why I laugh when people say they are telling me like it is.
What that really means to me is making sure my children understand that when I refer to a question of dignity it is because I want them to treat people well and not like garbage. I want them to understand what it is like to be a good friend.
I don’t know if they realize how many different life experiences they have had. They have confronted death more than once and learned about letting go. I am working on making sure they learn to know their own worth because it is exceptionally important.
But I would be lying if I said that a part of me wished that I could protect their innocence from some of these things just a little bit longer.