My daughter starts middle school this year. It is a strange sensation watching your children grow up. It simultaneously reminds you of your own childhood, and your own mortality. I don’t feel old, but I’m officially middle-aged. And nothing ever good happens in the middle part of a trilogy. It’s not that I’m afraid of growing old. To the contrary I’m part of profession that values age and wisdom. The more gray hair I have, the more credible I become. ( That’s probably a good thing. I’m passed the age of looking “buff.” The last time I looked good without a shirt was the summer I worked construction. That was as close as I’ll get to Adonis; or Taylor Lautner, for my daughter’s friends.)
Growing old doesn’t scare me, but the fleeting nature of time does. Things that happened decades ago I can recall with great clarity. My memories of intermediate school aren’t that far buried. As Emilie enters intermediate school, I know exactly how she feels. We toured her school this week. She was nervous, I could tell. She admitted to me later her concern that she wouldn’t fit in, or make friends, or might get lost. I loved her more at that minute than I could express. I would have scooped her up and hugged her to me right there, but we were in the parking lot and trying to look cool, and she might have died of embarasment.
Wisdom is understanding her fear is real, but also knowing that she’ll do just fine. She’ll chart her own course, and she’ll survive. And in a matter of seconds she’ll be off to high school and then college. All I can hope is that we’ve prepared her for this journey about to come, and given her the freedom she needs to reach her ultimate destination while providing her with a map for the journey home when she’s ready. I’ve already made that trip, and it’s a good one, full of adventure and new friends. I need to pay more attention to the road I’m on now. There’s lots of good things here too, with new adventures and friends to be made, until I reach the third part of this trilogy. And who knows? Maybe at the end of the story I’ll look back and say the second book was my favorite.