I was walking my ten year old to school the other morning, as I have been doing every morning, since the start of the school year. It’s a short walk but I love doing it because we usually walk arm in arm and talk about whatever is on her mind at that particular moment. It’s also a chance to remind her if she has everything she needs for the day (lunch bag, musical instrument, homework, swimming stuff, special projects, notes to teacher…)
When we first started walking to school back in the early fall, she would ask me to hang out with her until either the bell rang and the kids to begin get in line to enter the school or until she ran into a few friends and then she would send me packing.
More recently, we don’t even get to the property line of the school when she says, “I am good, Dad. You can go.” But I don’t wanna go! I love hanging out with her. Blowing me off like this is yet another example of how my daughter is becoming more and more independent and is growing up far too fast.
However, this particular morning, as I turned around and began to walk home with my tail between my legs, I looked up to see a mom who had just probably experienced the same thing as me. Her child was walking to the school yard with a few friends, leaving the mother in the dust.
But the mom just kind of stood there, watching her child as he left for his day of learning and new experiences.
What was she looking at? Her actions made me stop in my tracks and turn around to look at my kid as she made her way.
I watched her walking off, confident, full of life, happy-go-lucky and laughing as she began chatting it up with a few of her buddies.
My mind began wandering…going back and forth in time. I was remembering my youngest daughter in my arms, looking into her eyes as I was giving her one of her many late night bottles, holding her little hand as she was slowly beginning to walk…pushing her in the stroller singing songs together, playing “I-Spy” together.
Then I began to imagine her in the future…what would she look like, what would she be doing, what would she be thinking…would we be as close then as we are now? Would our relationship change…how would it change?
I think we, as parents, do a lot of wondering and reflecting about our children. Its almost like daydreaming. By no means am I in any hurry to imagine my daughter as a teenager or a grown adult. Life is whizzing by too fast as it is. But, I do sometimes think about the future and where both my kids will be. What will my kids be doing? Will they be contributing in some positive way to the world? Will they be in committed relationships with someone who recognizes and loves all the amazing qualities they possess in them what my wife and I see? Will they be working and earning a living?
I start down this long list of questions to myself as I get into these wondering modes but quickly put the brakes on. What is the rush, man? You are watching your little 10 year old girl walk off to school and here you are wondering about the future…shame on you.
There is nothing wrong with fantasizing about the future. But the future is unpredictable and out of everyone’s grasp. The only place to be is in the present…savouring it and embracing it.
Don’t wish it away…because before you know it, your children will be all grown up.
I looked at the mom and smiled, turned around and made my own way home to my own day, complete with its challenges.
However, knowing that my gorgeous, amazing, intelligent and witty daughter was off for a fantastic day filled with adventure, learning and friends…made life wonderful.