June 28, 2018
A daily routine comes to an end and a new world of experience awaits.
So it came. The day I thought looked so far on the horizon back in August of 2012, and that I've been dreading for weeks now. Our daily walks to school, up our dead end gravel road to the blacktop and the sidewalk. We started out hand in hand in kindergarten, and we walked like that for part of our final journey after 5th grade graduation. Bookends of a phase of childhood that is now in the rearview mirror.
That walk over the years was filled with both wonder and routine. We passed the same houses every day, and watched the transformation as several were sold, and bought by new families who made their own marks on the landscape. And we marveled at the changes each day of the spring as new plants would emerge. Caught a few snowflakes on the tongue. Picked up a few brightly colored leaves newly castoff for the autumn.
I didn't like being the one who had to get up and make sure all of the other folks in my house actually did. There were a lot of mornings when I didn't feel like walking, but I knew that someday both of us would be glad we did. Someday is here.
That last walk home was a bit emotional for both of us. While I'd rather she not be quite as cursed with sentimentality as her middle-aged dad with the vivid imagination, I am grateful that she recognized the significance of the moment too. A year of your life is a very large chunk of 11 years, especially when you can't remember much of the first few. And most of your time and energy is rightly spent looking ahead.
We celebrated that weekend with a little surprise. It's always been on my bucket list to take her to see Cirque de Soleil. That's a pretty huge splurge for our family, but I found out that on Father's Day they were finishing a run of their Mexican-dream themed show Luzia fairly nearby.
Cirque is an experience of inhales and amazement. The lighting, the costumes, the music and of course the acrobats. The splendor of imagination come to life in spectacular fashion. We all loved it and have been talking about it ever since - all three of us kids.
Wonder doesn't need to cease when we reach puberty, graduate high school or college, or anything else. One simply needs to confront the awesome majesty of the Grand Canyon or Mt. Rainier in person, up close, in full living color and one finds that our capacity for wonder is both boundless and lifelong. It stretches our imagination and immerses us in contemplating what's possible in new ways.
While we've walked away from elementary school, we walk forward into new experiences. Middle school awaits, but so too do the teenage years. Part of me wonders how we'll survive that, like most any family does. But along with come lots of new and wonderful experiences too, as a child becomes an adult. May we still recognize and delight in those small and large moments of wonder and amazement together.