by Dave Markwell

My eleven year old daughter banned me from attending her “6th Grade Breakfast” event. Her reasoning was unclear, but fear and shame seemed likely culprits. Afraid and/or ashamed of what I’m not sure, probably just me, I guess.

Having attended many long-winded school functions during my lifetime already, I didn’t put up too big a fight. Sure, I postured a bit, but when I’m off the hook, I don’t try too hard to bite it again.

I am, however, still slightly troubled that I was actually banned. My sweet little girl did NOT want me at this event. I’m not sure what I did to inspire this action, though, if I ask (which I won’t), I’m pretty sure my daughter could produce a list. I don’t want to see that list. I prefer my head in the sand.

In my absence, my girl was awarded “Most Intellectual” during the little ceremony that I missed. Another parent, who apparently wasn’t barred, sent me some pictures. They were bittersweet. I am a sucker for milestones. I like seeing my kids’ achievements and find much joy in theirs. Like all parents, I think my kids are pretty special and it’s fun for me when others think so, too. Thus, my banishment became a bitterer pill to swallow after seeing my girl standing in front of folks accepting her prize.

My daughter is growing up. She is making the transition from “cute” to “beautiful”. Seeing her every day, I am somewhat blinded by the close distance and sometimes miss what a beautiful and wonderful creature she is. The other parent’s photos had an outsider’s view; a different perspective than I am used to seeing. And it was nice.

Viewing my girl through a new lens allowed me to see something maybe truer than my own eyesight. As parents, we often get stuck in what “was” or what “will be” and overlook what “is”. Our kids’ moments today are special. They are special because they won’t stay here for long and without knowing and seeing them as they “are”, we can miss important things. Important things rarely last, which makes recognizing them while they’re happening an important thing, too.

This is always the challenge: slowing down and seeing what “is”, taking a breath and observing and capturing in our minds and souls the unique spirit of our unique times. These times become our lives and remembering important things helps us remember that life is important. And, by extension, we’re important and life is pretty good.

So, while I sit licking my wounds following by daughter’s ban, I will accept this goofy moment and will remember it. I will tell stories about it later. I will laugh last and hardest. Her milestones are mine and I will claim them. These moments are our life. She tipped her hand and from now on I will not be denied. She poked the bear and will suffer my attendance at all of her future events. She won the battle, but I will win the war. Though, I suspect we’ll both win. She just doesn’t understand that part yet, but she will…

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, whose first book is called “A Feel Good Life” (buy it on Amazon here). Dave also extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, you can “friend” Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]

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