Parenting Blog

A Hope, A Worry, A Wish and A Prayer As Middle School Approaches

Daughter in New Harmony Labryinth

There are two handfuls of crabgrass sprouting relentlessly from the jagged cracks in the foundation where the driveway holds hands with the weathered brick walkway guiding footsteps to the front door of our home.

This is a tram stop now, the visitor’s center and restrooms are up that path a little ways. Thanks for coming and have a great day.

Across the cracked narrow patch of asphalt in desperate need of a reseal that’s not coming, beside the waist-high ivory rock’s unforgiving edges, is where eager tourists disembark for easy access to the nature trail around the young oak tree and down along the babbling brook.

Wine from water and fishes from loaves, my little angel with the bird’s nest hair flips the dull into the fanciful with the ease of a sea sending waves to the shoreline; constant and expected but no less marvelous to stand in awe of whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Two cars in the driveway, a pair of electric scooters, a very young oak, and the walkway to the front door are stops on that loop tram. The street is a historic park with another bus serving that circuit. The nature trail is lovely and not to be missed. The restroom is inside the visitor’s center, with refillable water stations available ’round back. The parking is free, as it should always be. Oh, and be sure to take the bus to the ‘top of the hill’, the views are legendary for a reason.

She’s spun enough yarns of this variety to fill volumes. In many years, when I reflect back on her childhood, her ability to customize everyday experiences to suit her imaginative needs is what I’ll remember first and foremost. The young woman I call The Bear has been a joy to parent at every step; she’s the gift that made me a dad.

My hope now, as she bobs and weaves through the 6th grade and soon, middle school, is that the fertile imagination of my first born daughter will provide her with a bountiful harvest of joy, love and light for all the days. The prayer and the worry walk side by side as she makes new friends, spins in foreign circles, takes the first steps into the discriminating social world, and volunteers the best bits of herself to these newcomers: that the new friends occupying unfamiliar circles and the often brutal world at large actively choose to embrace her prodigious talents and hopeful glow, and that when they don’t — because they all won’t — that she possesses the nerve to preserver in spite of the sideways looks and cutting words of scorn. I want to believe I’ve bequeathed her that ability, but I cannot know for sure.

It may very well be that either the buoyancy of youth or the heaviness of age are essential to falling in love fully with her zeal to see possibilities where most see only the absence of anything worth their precious time. I’m afraid that as she rides atop the gravel road in between two of life’s most disparate tram stops that the best of her won’t be appreciated by others her age.

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