My longest readers (all one or perhaps two of them) will know that Little Abbey refers to my oldest daughter. When she was born, I marveled about her and fatherhood and just baby development in a series of posts entitled Little Abbey Updates. It seems like just yesterday and yet, she just graduated from elementary school, turned 11 years old and got her first pair of glasses all a few days ago. I thought in honor of that occasion, I would do an update reminiscent of old.
I remember dreaming about the day my daughter would start talking and telling me what she needed/wanted so I didn't have to guess amid the tears and hollers. Then she started talking and I wished she would just play quietly and let me have some peace for a few minutes. These days I find myself engaged in all sorts of conversations with my daughter and I enjoy them to the point I treasure them. I just love seeing her mind develop by the types of questions she asks. I feel like she has matured to the point that I know what kinds of things interest her deeply and which things are simply part of a passing fad. I suspect as she approaches and enters the teen years, all things dad might start becoming "uncool" so I'm really treasuring these talks while they are occurring and hoping that in doing so, she will always feel comfortable telling me anything.
My daughter is making the transition from elementary school to middle school which varies a bit from my youth and even other districts. Here, 6th graders are treated the same as those in 7th and 8th grades and housed in the same building although in their own wing. We attended open house of sorts for parents a week ago and got her schedule, met her teachers and checked out the class rooms. They have placed my daughter in an advanced math class that will stuff both 6th and 7th grade math into one year so that by the time she reaches high school she can take some advanced math if desired. The is also taking a special stem class for the advanced sciences which is more to her desire than advanced math. She will also take part in the talented and gifted program as well although we won't know for sure until August. One of my dreams of raising kids as intelligent or better yet, more so than me is being realized and I couldn't be happier. Also like me, my daughter is already counting the days until the first day of middle school when the ink on her 5th grade diploma hasn't even dried yet.
Another sign that she isn't so little anymore is that she has her first pair of glasses. I wear glasses and my wife just got her first pair of progressive glasses, so we pretty much knew the chances would be high that my oldest daughter would also wear glasses someday. Though she hasn't displayed signs of needing them, we took her for a checkup when we went to get ours and found out that she is right on the border where she needs them for nearsightedness. At first she was sad at the news but cheered up when she got to pick out a pair from the racks of frames. After much debate, she picked the perfect pair much to the delight of her mom and dad and they sent out the order. The next day she went to school and saw that every girl in her class that wears glasses (and that is all of them) had a different style than she selected. She came home and was in tears. We had a long talk about always following sheep and that sometimes it is better to do your own thing and eventually she went back to excited. She now wears them occasionally when she needs clear vision of things far away and is happy with them.
Summer break is upon us now and it is far from the quiet summers of working on the farm I spent in my youth. My daughter already has one week of learning hand bells and two weeks of learning the violin in a boot camp type setting scheduled plus a week spent with my parents for swimming lessons and another week doing community service with my parents by cleaning up rivers in our state from trash and debris. She also has two all day sessions scheduled at the local community college to learn advanced science and another subject which I have forgotten off the top of my head. The summer is certain to fly by from my perspective.
I'm happy as a father that she has turned out so well thus far and since I still have one that will be starting 4 year old preschool this fall, I probably won't be sad at the loss of childhood just yet since I have another way to get that fix. However, as she is starting to blossom into womanhood, I pretty sure I'm still not ready for all the things that brings yet and won't be for several more years, perhaps never. When she was younger I was always wishing phases in her life would hurry up and arrive. Now I'm hollering for them to stop!