I don't write much anymore. No reason, really. The time is there. I even feel as if I have less obligations since I can trust the children of the house to mostly self police themselves; unless of course there is some sort of disagreement , or a hot stove. Then the police (or the paramedics) become slightly necessary. But for the most part, I just don't write. I don't know why that is...
In an awkward moment of honesty yesterday, my youngest looked me right in the face and said, "Daddy, if I lose any more teeth, I won't be able to whistle." I thought to myself for a beat and replied, "Haegan, that's some funny stuff right there...but you're right...another tooth and whistling will have to wait for awhile." (a travesty in my household) Then I thought to myself, where has all the time gone?
This morning I dropped the same little girl of for her second day of first grade. Last year our routine consisted of a drive to school, a parked car, and a daddy/daughter walk up to the front door. Today, I parked the car and my little girl bid me adieu some 300 yards from the school. As I stood by the car and watched her grow smaller and smaller in the distance, I awaited the look. You know "the look;" the moment when they turn and check that you're still spotting them from afar. And roughly 20 yards from the door, she turned and peered down in my direction. I felt affirmed, and sad all at the same time.
This isn't the first time I've felt this way. My eldest now dreams of a day when she will soon drive. A feat I find even more amazing considering Paige has no since of direction. When she was her sister's age, she too would saunter up that same shaded sidewalk to school, at first with me watching, and then in routine hustle, barely getting the car door to latch before disappearing into the distance. At this point, "the look" had all but faded, yet I still watched with wistful hesitancy as most parents do when traversing milestones. And then we buy them a map (or an iPhone), put them in an automobile, and never stop worrying...if they will find their way around this great big world and out of the paper sack in which they've been hiding.
Maybe Haegan's concern for whistling involves my habit of constantly whistling around the house. Perhaps she equates whistling with grownup behavior, or silly behavior, or annoying behavior (as my wife would attest) but nevertheless, for now, she fears the inability to whistle. Perhaps in her eyes, growing up isn't quite what she had in mind, if she has to give up something she enjoys for something inescapable. Or maybe she just loves to whistle.
Which brings me back to me in some odd sense. If I were completely honest, I would say I fear no longer having to parent like I did when my kids were really little. I would equate this feeling to Haegan's fear of whistle silence. I know she will lose more teeth and perhaps lose her ability to whistle. It's a foregone conclusion. So, to, is my fear of not being needed I suppose. They'll inevitably need less and less of me as they do more and more of their life. I guess I'm okay with that.
At least I can whistle...and write. Maybe I should write more? Just a thought!