My wife and I were in the kitchen gabbing away, and next to us our eldest daughter sat doing her homework.
She listened intently, and then said something funny related to our conversation.
And then I thought, when did you grow up? You’re only 11 but now our adult world is starting to make sense. You are growing up and taking on chores. You clean your own closet and you make your own bed. You make your own lunch for science club on Tuesdays. You walk the dog. You look after your younger brother and sister when we nip out to the supermarket. You look after your brother on the ice rink on your own until we get there after running errands on a Saturday morning, and you make your own occasional coffee with milk steamed in Mummy’s steamer that you clean afterward. You are learning about the industrial age and coal and labor unions and politics.
You are growing up.
My face sank at the thought. How time has flown, so very fast. I still remember the days you would dream of blowing our house into the sky so we could fly to see Grandma. I remember you and your brother trying to eat your way to outer space. I remember your battles against dragons and your fright at seeing a witch.
How your imagination continued to fly. When not long ago you asked me, fancifully but seriously, what if time stopped but we didn’t, you and me. Such a thought, such a story from the realms of my favorite stories by Ray Bradbury, the likes of “The Million-Year Picnic” and “Mars is Heaven.”
Now your sights are on this world, the arrival of adolescence and adulthood, growing up and going to secondary school. You know where: a school that teaches agronomy and zoology by getting you deep in the mud and your hands on animals of all sorts. You want – at least now – to study to be a marine biologist. And you want to continue to draw and paint and sculpt, what you so enjoy. Art that has come to populate this blog.
And you want to surf, like me. Yes, we will go, we will travel and surf and I will take you to see animals and study the sea as you wish. Dolphins, otters, sharks and whales. On the boat we will go together until you want to go on your own, for that time will come when you are a marine biologist – or whatever you want to be – with a university degree and a profession and an income and a dream coming real.
The world is open for you.
But there is one thing you must remember: when you go hunting for a kraken, you must call me. I will want to follow you to the deeps of the sea in search of that giant squid that few have seen and few will. Except us when we are so many leagues beneath the sea.