My hand shifts position and my finger presses the delete button, a few too many times. I am nervous. Worried that the words won’t come to express what emotions are prompted by the image of my daughter writing; writing under the shade of a tree with the full sun leaving a wavy patch of light on the street. For weeks she has been writing song lyrics.
We pushed through the door, stepping over the cement step and into the classroom. It was summer. A great day to cool ourselves on the ledges of Echo Lake or the rough waters of Sand Beach, instead we both stood in the middle of a classroom ready for Summer School. That first year, I remember the feeling of dread that settled in the pit of my stomach. As a teacher I had a good idea of just how far behind my daughter was in her learning. I was concerned. She had a rough start and since coming to our family she had spent more hours with Developmental Therapists, Speech Clinicians and other professionals in the square little rooms cooled by fans than she did building castles in the sand and blowing bubbles in the lake. The commitment to support her early on, I hoped would pay off engaging her in a life fulfilled as a reader and a writer.
She used to carry around heavy chapter books that were way beyond her abilities. I thought then that maybe this was a way of belonging in her peer group, but now I tend to think that this was a reminder of the pact that she made to herself; to not settle, to keep working hard. She has worked her way out. It is only because of her grit and determination that she is where she is today. This girl is tenacious. Now she carries thick heavy books with her when we go out to eat, when we go to sporting events and when we travel. She reads on the couch, while floating in a pool, and in the middle of busy restaurants.
My daughter is a reader and a writer. This is the summer that we have traveled, spent long hours at camp and floated in the pond together. This summer we have sat side by side and read and we have also sat side by side and written. We have sat in cafes together sipping oversized cups of chai and coffee which fueled our creation.
Yes. This image is magnificent and stretches beyond my earlier imaginings. It makes me happy. Very happy.