The big day has come, and it is a day my daughter has been anticipating for the past couple months. She is finally a real live 4th grader. She was so excited that she woke up at 5:00 am, and wanted to get ready. To understand the significance of this, you have to realize that this girl doesn’t really feel completely alive unless she’s slept well into the morning (just like her mama). So 5 would typically be an excruciating hour for her. But we got her dressed and carted her off to her first day. She was lucky. One of her best friends is in her class, and was placed very near her in the seating chart. So, for Alison, 4th grade had a good beginning.
It is interesting how we begin to live the joys and the dispairs of our kids. I hear that once begun this never goes away. Forever more the ups and downs of my girls will be the ups and downs of my own heart and soul. Their pain, their accomplishments, their sorrows, their fears, the breath-holding moments just before letting go and falling into the various abysses that await each of us will never be felt alone. I know my wife feels the same way, because we talk about our girls all the time.
Being a parent is no great accomplishment (at least for most of us, I think this is true). After all, the majority of human beings will procreate, and will bring into this world children of their own. So, practically, it is nothing but a biological experience share by most. Yet, despite this, being a parent can be the most emotionally rewarding experience in any single human life. It can bring meaning and purpose where there was once a desert of misunderstanding about one’s place in the universe. Things can seem so terribly complicated at times, I know. Everything is convoluted, truth is an idea we are asked to forsake long before we reach the age of consent, and sometimes the we wonder about the value of the entire species of man, let alone the value of any particular individual. But then we have kids, and everything seems to fall in to place. Things seem to make much more sense, and the world seems more promising (and more terrifying, perhaps).
My little girl is growing up. She’s nearly 2 years younger than every other student in her 4th grade class, and is so very little to let loose into such a big world. It’s hard letting go, and impossible to hold on. All we can every really do is hold on with those heart strings that seem always to be strung to the point of breaking.