Happy birthday, K

Today is K’s tenth birthday.

My daughter is a delight. She is smart, funny, and preternaturally social. She has many gifts of physical talent, and love her classes at Circus Juventas as a result. She’s looking forward to the spring circus shows, and to being in all of them.

K thinks she’s not very good at math because it’s hard work for her. Someday she will understand what we mean when we say that learning how to learn is an invaluable life skill. One worth far more, ultimately, than finding pre-algebraic math to be easy. And she is good at math. She’s good at almost every academic subject.

When I watch K with her friends I give huge thanks that friendship and social things come so easy to her. So much easier for her than they ever were — or still are, who am I kidding — for me. And then, in almost the same breath, I worry. I worry that she will find herself in unfortunate circumstances because she likes fitting in, likes making people happy, likes being in the median of the crowd. We’ll see, I suppose.

Nine-turning-ten is a delightful age. Wildly mature one moment, aping maturity another, gigglingly juvenile the next. I never know quite what I’m going to get from her, and I don’t mind. I know that this age — like every moment before it — won’t last. I take what the people in my care give and I’m pleased with it. I know that, in a year, they will be giving something else. That’s what time and growth mean.

It’s my job as a parent to contribute to the world one Competent, Ethical, Contributing Young Adult. Age ten is … about halfway there, more or less. I like the look of things at this fifty percent mark. I look at my daughter and I can see glimpses of the young adult she will become. I hope that I continue to uphold my end of the contract. That I can continue to teach her the things she will need in order to embark on her own life separate from mine. That’s the goal. That’s the plan. That’s the whole point of parenting.

But, in the meantime, my mother is here. Today will hold karate class, and music practice, and circus, and eventually it will hold pizza and cake. Today K is ten years old. And I am glad of today.

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