I sit by the window and watch her. Her arms spread wide to the sun. Its rays shine on her golden brown hair in a halo of light. I see her mouth moving and, though I can’t hear her I know she is singing. Maybe the song is one she has heard on the radio or one she has written herself. She dances and sways and our pup runs around her, nipping at her heels and jumping up and down. Not long ago, I realized how quickly she is growing. Our children are ours for only a little while. Then, we must release them into the wide world, where they learn lessons we could never teach them fully. Someone once said the two best things we can give our children are roots and wings. Looking at her now, I can see her wings spreading to fly… And she is only seven.
Almost seven, I should say. Her birthday is a month away. We’ve been arguing over what to do for it. I suggested the zoo and she suggested Disneyland; I suggested the park and she suggested our backyard. I don’t think we will come to a consensus. I turn back to watch her again. Now, she has climbed to the top of her jungle gym dome. She sits with her feet dangling between the rungs. Nina, our dog, is lying underneath, as if to catch my daughter if she falls. I believe she would try. They are inseparable when outside, a girl and her dog. They are relatively the same age. Nina, in dog years, is seven. She follows my daughter all over the backyard as Hobbit picks flowers, digs for worms, and catches “rolly pollies” (pill bugs).
Hobbit – A nick-name that never fails to get a laugh out of strangers. I tried reading The Hobbit to her when she was younger. When she asked what a Hobbit was, I told her “Well, Hobbits are little people, like you. You are my little Hobbit.” From then on, she was my Hobbit. My Hobbit and My Mini-Me. The latter name was given to her by others. From her morning scowl to her overflowing bookshelves; she is a smaller version of me. As I write this, I am reminded of a time she wanted to write, as well. When she was four, she sat with me while I worked on a research paper for school, “Theodore Seuss Geisel and his place in Today’s Literary Canon”. As I read every Dr. Seuss book I could find, she sat next to me, listening and looking at the pictures. As I wrote how Geisel replacing Dick and Jane with a six-foot tall cat, she traced words and pictures out of The Lorax. I’ll never forget that day. She told me when she grew up she was going to be an author and her name was going to be Dr. Morgan. I still have the “book” she made. I was so proud of her and encouraged her decision, hoping it would continue as she grew. She has changed her mind since then. Now she wants to be a veterinarian and an artist. She can be anything she wants. My only desire is her happiness.
I look up from my laptop again. She has come down from her perch and is standing on the patio, staring out across the yard. Nina is lying at her feet, sniffing the ground. I recognize the look on her face. She has wondered off into her own world. A fantasy world, in which I ride a unicorn and her father rides “a lame horse”. I know this because she has told me about her world. Although, I have always encouraged imagination, I am still surprised by the detail in which she describes hers. She is a source of constant amazement. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for her. And now, I sit and watch my baby, who has become a little girl, who will one day become a woman. I sit and watch and hope I am doing what I should. I hope I am strengthening her roots. I hope I am building her wings. Most importantly, I hope I am giving her the courage to fly…