WON Parenting Contest: My daughter's expedition to post the letters
|It was a beautiful sunny day and my daughter was ten. She was slightly taller than the others in her class at this age but still small compared to the rest of her family. I am six foot three and her mother is five foot ten so we affectionately call her Shorty. She was and is very proud of her dark blonde long hair. Indeed she once told me that she could not possibly use my cheap shampoo because she had beautiful hair! The implication being that her daddy did not. I took it on the chin and laughed when she told me this suddenly noticing some grey hairs and split ends and self-consciously wondering if I needed a haircut to get up to my daughter's standard. Her blue eyes always have a twinkle and a concern for others in them. Indeed her classmates often come to her for 'counseling' and she developed a bit of reputation as the class psychologist. She would spend hours listening to classmates moaning and then offered them advice. She has read some serious psychological textbooks trying to work out how people tick and we have had long discussions about this. Top of her class at this age and much loved by the teachers and her friends there I often wondered if she was intelligent or just very methodical, organized, and hardworking. Maybe she was and indeed is all these things. She was full of laughter at this age and whenever her friends came round she would go from semi-somber to giggling in less than two seconds. In short, my beautiful daughter was and is talented, conscientious, popular, intelligent and intensely sociable, and helpful by nature.
So though only ten when she saw the pile of letters ready to post in our hallway piled by the mirror she asked for the job. I had actually been looking forward to the walk myself but the expression on her face was so adorable that immediate surrender to her wishes was really my only option. Now the post box was a slightly shorter distance from us than was her school. So I am not sure why I was so nervous about her doing this. After all, I regularly trotted alongside her to school while she used her pink "Kinderscooter" (Child scooter) to make the journey. She would sometimes make the trip herself even at that age when I was in a meeting or away on a business trip. We had bought a top-of-the-range "Kinderscooter" and it was her preferred mode of transport for all her trips out to see friends in the local area. She already had a degree of independence but still, let her daddy walk her to school when he was around because she loved to chat on the way. So I already knew that she was conscientious about staying on the pavement and looking out for cars and strange men. But that day she had a different mode of transport in mind. She was going to Nordic Ski to the post box. She planned the trip exhaustively. It was sunny outside but being early Spring still quite chilly so she wore her specially knitted brown wooly hat. This was perched on top of her long hair and fitted snuggly over her ears. She would need music for the journey so she put her pink camera which had 5 songs on it in her pink rucksack and the white cable of her white earphones was seen protruding out of this and then under her hat. She wore her pink jacket, put the rucksack on her back put on her brown wooly gloves which matched her hat, and took her mama's Nordic Ski poles from the hallway. She even had a water bottle within easy reach in the side compartment of her rucksack just in case she got thirsty on her expedition. The Nordic Poles were a little large for her so she did look a little comical with her hands high in the air as she made her way off. Her mother and I watched her go through the front door then racing around to the kitchen window and then the living room window we watched her make her way around the house along the street and then off down the road.
Some ten minutes after she had gone I was wondering where she was and went to the hall to put my shoes on. It was then that I noticed she had left the letters where we had piled them. There was some merriment as I mentioned this to my wife. I expressed some concern that she was taking a while. My wife told me not to worry, but I put my shoes on, took the letters, and decided I would walk down her route to try and find her and make sure she was OK.
Oak trees line our road and as I came round the corner of our drive and onto the street, I looked up the avenue, some fifty meters ahead by the last of these. I saw my daughter coming round the corner, focused and determined, lost in her own musical world and still rhythmically pushing the poles like she had seen her mother do while Nordic skiing. In the brilliant sunshine, she looked so cute and my heart melted.
As we approached each other, she looked up and stopped and I motioned to her that I would like to speak. She removed one earphone to listen. I mentioned to her that she had forgotten to post the letters and suggested that we walk back together to the post box to do that. She giggled at the news about the letters but then replied, "No daddy I have had my walk now." At that, she walked back to the house leaving me smiling on the pavement. So I had to jog to the post box after all and post the letters myself. But when I recall that incident it never fails to place a smile upon my face.
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