Then it happened.
The makeup came, and the look, the walk, and then there she was on stage singing into a microphone with five classmates. My eldest daughter is nine years old and growing up.
I watched starry-eyed. And blue. I had both feelings at the same time watching her and her friends in the fourth grade singing at the year-end school party with lipstick and mascara, and the lyrics of a pop song I don’t know emanating from their mouths.
I watched and thought how far we’ve come, how far she’s come from a tike to what seems to be a budding teenager. She’s told me how to get to outer space. And how to get to heaven and back. She’s lugged a bucket of sand to our house in the city from the beach in Pinamar, where we lived for two years in our pine tree paradise. She said, “It’s for you, Daddy. So that won’t miss the beach so much.” She’s explained to me a wicked way to declutter our house and her bloody sure methods to make some extra cash. She’s beguiled me with stories of spooks and surprised me with her platform for the presidency, and, as importantly, she has taught me how to simply chill out, let the wind blow through my hair and enjoy today.
Now she’s growing up, transforming, thinking new thoughts and even contemplating the end of the world. “We’re ruining the earth,” she told mum the other day. “It won’t last forever. And I hope we’re dead before then.”
She’s trying to raise awareness about global warming and other causes. Walk by our house and you’ll see. Hand-drawn “Save the Planet” posters are scotch-taped to our windows, so too a proclamation to pick up your dog’s shit. It’s your civic duty. Well, it should be. But it seems too few people give a shit about clean streets or civic duties. That’s society today. Then we’ll be dead.
But that’s not the way for me. Not anymore. I’m going to pitch in and help, be civic, be dutiful, and be a help to this world for what time I have left. And on this very evening at the school party I’m going to let this pop song by my nine-year-old daughter and her friends move me to dance with my four-year-old daughter perched on my shoulders at the foot of the stage.
It’s good to dream of a better world and enjoy what’s good now.