I had two weeks with the Girl this year once again, as her daycare provider took holidays too. The time was something of a “staycation” as I mentioned earlier. This meant picnics to local parks, bike camp (for the first week), the petting zoo at Queen’s Park (so grateful for that being there), a trip to Deer Lake Park, (where you can rent paddle boats!), and beginning our foray into chapter book reading at storytime – C.S Lewis’ The Magician’s Nephew.
I think the highlight was certainly the boating – a lot of fun! The Girl and I took turns steering, exploring Deer Lake; investigating the lilypads, following the Canada geese’s routes, dangling fingers in the cold, murky water. Meanwhile, it was pretty good excrcise for me, with the boat powered at some points entirely by Dad-power.
Later in the day, she and I decided that instead of going to her Thursday karate class, we’d see a movie at the theatre instead. We decided to check out The Odd Life of Timothy Green, just a titch ahead of her in terms of narrative, and some content. But, she had questions that I think I was able to answer for her. The story is about a weird kid with a good heart, with that good heart overcoming his inability to conform to the modern idea of what a successful kid (or parent!) is. On the strength of that, it was worthwhile. On the way home, we talked a bit about what a good heart means, that it’s about being able to understand and respect the feelings and perspectives of others, and treat those people accordingly within your means.
It’s the single most important thing anyone can achieve in life.
One of the many tensions in being a parent, it seems to me, is to cherish the small moments, to capture them for posterity in the treasurehouse of our memories, and to understand that we are in river of time, that the sons and daughters we know today are in the process of moving on – and rightly so. Sometimes when I hold my Girl in my arms, or kiss her goodnight, I have the impulse to try to hold her as she is somehow, forever. I think it’s a human impulse to hang on to things we love which can’t really be hung onto.
But, the irony is that my goal works against that impulse, even if sometimes my feelings don’t. If I do my part correctly, I will be a key influence in transforming this sweet, six-year old Girl into a well-adjusted modern citizen who is driven by the moral principles of understanding, and empathy, helping her to be a confident, strong, informed, compassionate woman, with a keen sense of justice, balanced against an appreciation for the absurd to help her weather this increasingly absurd and unjust world. Yet, I know that I will miss this little Girl, with so many questions, so much trust, and with so few reservations about sharing her affection in a totally unselfconscious way; crawling into my lap when she’s tired, wrapping her hand around my neck and hanging onto my ear.
But today, Summer holidays are over. And Grade 2 is begun!