Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Christine Hurt (Illinois) and Jeff Lipshaw (Suffolk) have reflected in recent days on the different stages of parenthood -- Christine reviews the most recent Shrek movie she saw with her kids, while Jeff takes a stroll down memory lane as his youngest child turns 18. I am closer to Jeff's parenting stage than Christine's, and last night celebrated my daughter's 15th birthday by taking her and two friends to a Fall Out Boy concert at Cincinnati's Riverbend outdoor music theatre. It was a memorable night.
I thought I had come prepared for anything (ear plugs, Advil), but not for the sight of my beautiful daugher sprouting wings near the mosh pit -- "one part woman, the other part girl" in the words of the Bob Carlisle song I continually threaten to play at her wedding. Although a friend had gotten us spectacular seats, I of course was banished to the outer rim of the facility (with the other parents of like-age kids) where I passed the time (5 hours!) reflecting on what an incredible gift this parenting thing is. I have made more than my share of parental gaffes through the years, but watching my daughter last night made me appreciate (in Carlisle's words) that "with all that I've done wrong I must have done something right." (One of the things I got right was owing up to those mistakes with her at a week-long father-daughter coming of age program two summers ago at the JH Ranch in Northern California, and I am touched that she still wears the ring that I gave her at the conclusion of that week.)
My church has taught me the importance of "marking the moments" in one's life, and I know I will never forget the look of pure joy on my daughter's face as she found me after the concert, the sweet touch as she hugged me in gratitude for the evening, or the sounds of excited conversation from the back seat reliving the night as we drove home. In Carlisle's words, "I know I gotta let her go, but I'll always remember."
P.S. As I write this at 5:00 in the morning, catching up on the work I missed while at the concert, my daugher is studying beside me in the kitchen for the biology test she could not prepare for last night. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!