Just when we adjusted to living in humidity (a thriving garden and lush backyard), the rain stopped. It was replaced immediately by triple-digit heat and 10,000,000 mosquitoes.
We stopped going outside. I filled the void by seeking the perfect watermelon. I failed. I bought and tasted so many, I no longer recall the taste I was looking for.
If my summer were a song, it would be this.
Verse 1: The booster seat
The week of Vacation Bible School, the ten-year-old who lives with us was ecstatic. On the first day, she received a rubber prayer bracelet. She decided to pray each night for something wonderful to happen. It wouldn’t be a problem, she told me. She made three new friends the first day.
She missed the last day of VBS because she was running a fever. But that night she told me another prayer had been answered.
She no longer needed her booster seat.
Mom had checked the website and she was tall enough to use the safety belt without the seat.
Please stop growing up, I begged her. I told her I was worried she would no longer need me.
“Oh, Nana, I will always need you,” she said.
“In fact,” she continued, “You know how badly I want to be a heart surgeon when I grow up?”
“Don’t EVER let me forget that,” she said matter-of-factly.
“Just say, ‘Remember, you’re going to be a heart surgeon’, anytime I get distracted.”
Verse 2, Civilized behavior
With so much going on this summer, I’m either not able to watch the news or not able to turn it off.
Manifestations of unrest are everywhere. In our house, work stress and tween angst collide. At dinner, we have become half-listeners and conversation correctors.
Ordinarily I am drawn to any conversation that enlightens me. But with polite conversation on hiatus, I bite my tongue and think about cat videos.
A few nights ago I went down the hall to ask the child who is growing up too fast to turn down the loud music.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” she said, “I’m practicing moves for when I become a pop star.”
I was stunned.
“Remember, you’re going to be a heart surgeon,” I said proudly. “You asked me to keep you focused.”
“Mehh,” she said , and shrugged her shoulder.
Verse 3, The Talent Show
Now that Tween was 100 percent focused on being a pop star, she was definitely participating in the daycare talent show. The question was what she would do. Dance? Sing? Learn a magic trick?
Every night, music came from her bedroom. Every day she performed for us.
On the morning of the show, she woke with a song in her head. She wrote down the words and finished it on her way to school.
When it was her turn to perform, I left my seat to get close enough to record her. She walked to the front of the cafeteria and took the microphone. She didn’t look like she was about to dance and there was no musical accompaniment.
The emcee introduced her and told everyone No Longer a Heart Surgeon would be singing a song she had written herself.
When I heard the words in her tiny a cappella voice, I couldn’t stop the tears. I was glad I was recording, because I was lost after these words:
Hey, Captain, where are we going?
We’re going without knowing, he said.
It’s not about the destination.
It’s about the drive along the way……
Change was affecting her, too.
Though most days she couldn’t grow up fast enough, there were surely as many where she was afraid of what came next.
Just when we think we’ve seen everything, a new view comes along. Change is a given. How we handle it is up to us.
Pop Star is right, it’s always about the journey.
Maybe next week’s journey will include ice cream.
Tell me how you deal with change. And if you think you’re a half-listener or conversation corrector, you might be right.