Thursday, August 19, 2010

I trust you'll treat her well.

Dear World:

...I bequeath to you today one little girl ... in a crispy dress ... with two blue eyes ... and a happy laugh that ripples all day long ... and a flash of light blond hair that bounces in the sunlight when she runs. I trust you'll treat her well. 

She's slipping out of the backyard of my heart this morning ... and skipping off down the street to her first day of school. And never again will she be completely mine. Prim and proud she'll wave her young and independent hand this morning and say "Good Bye"... and walk with little lady steps to the schoolhouse. 

Now she'll learn to stand in line ... and wait by the alphabet for her name to be called. She'll learn to tune her ears to the sounds of school-bells ... and deadlines ... and she'll learn to giggle ... and gossip ... and look at the ceiling in a disinterested way when the little boy across the aisle sticks out his tongue at her. And now she'll learn to be jealous. And now she'll learn how it is to feel hurt inside. And now she'll learn how not to cry. 

No longer will she have time to sit on the front porch steps on a summer day and watch an ant scurry across the crack in a sidewalk. Nor will she have time to pop out of bed with the dawn to kiss lilac blossoms in the morning dew. No, now she'll worry about important things. Like grades ... and which dress to wear ... and who's best friend is whose. And the magic of books and learning will replace the magic of her blocks and dolls. And now she'll find new heroes. 

For five full years now I've been her sage and Santa Claus and pal and playmate and father and friend. Now she'll learn to share her worship with her teachers ... which is only right. But, no longer will I be the smartest man in the whole world. Today when that school bell rings for the first time ... she'll learn what it means to be a member of a group. With all it's privileges. And it's disadvantages too. 

She'll learn in time that proper young ladies do not laugh out loud. Or kiss dogs. Or keep frogs in pickle jars in bedrooms. Or even watch ants scurry across cracks in the summer sidewalk. 

Today she'll learn for the first time that all who smile at her are not her friends. And I'll stand on the front porch and watch her start out on the long, lonely journey to become a woman. 


So, World. I bequeath to you today one little girl ... in a crispy dress ... with two blue eyes and a happy laugh that ripples all day long ... and a flash of light blond hair that bounces in the sunlight when she runs. I trust you'll treat her well.

(Thank you, Lani, for the poem... and for making me cry!)

Today I sent my baby girl to School! Granted, it's only their 'evaluation day' and the real thing doesn't happen until Monday, but today was the first day of school, in our minds.
  Jim is in California and won't be flying home until tonight so she called him on the way to school. It was fun to listen to her tell him all the things she thought they might do!
  Good thing there was a parents meeting after I took her to her (temporary - teachers haven't been assigned yet) classroomm - no way was I going to go in there bawling and blowing my nose and making a scene! It was sad coming home without her though, with only one little boy in the vehicle... he thought so too!
  She was a bit nervous after she got in the classroom and realized her 'best friend' wasn't in the same room as her! I'm sure she got over it quickly and will be all smiles when I pick her up this afternoon... I know I will be!
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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Where did she go?

Someone once said to "Remember the last's". We're always so focused on the "First's" - first steps, words, first pig-tails... what about the last? When was the last time I kissed these chubby little girl cheeks? When was the last time I hugged this little toddler-girl, so vibrant and full of life? When was the last time I saw her and did I even notice she was gone??? (pic summer '08)

When did she turn into this little girl? The one who can count by 5's and can read and write all the names of her preschool classmates - the one who is learning to roller-blade? The little girl who prays so innocently for "help to be a good girl, for ever and ever"? (pic summer '10)

Time doesn't seem to be moving that quickly from day to day but I was shocked to see this picture of her that my Mom took, after having just come across the previous picture the day before. Have I spent enough time teaching her the important things? Have I made the right impressions on her to prepare her for the conflicting impressions that will be made as she starts Kindergarten in 3 weeks?

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