Tuesday, June 20, 2017

1,000 Miles with My Daughter






As we move into the longer and lazier days of summer, I thought taking on a lighter subject this week seemed appropriate for the season.  I have tried to take my children walking from time and time and it just has not worked out quite like I hoped.  There were lots of complaints about feet hurting and such after the first mile and tackling steep hills nearby was unpleasant at best.  However, this summer, my only daughter is finally old enough to not only engage in pretty deep and meaningful conversations but is enthusiastically joining me on long walks. 

A few nights ago, I found myself itching to get outside before the sun went down and my daughter insisted on joining me.  Sometimes I get impatient because her little legs cannot match my grown up stride, yet the last few walks have allowed us to settle into our own comfortable rhythm.  My time with her is so emotionally fulfilling that the physical differences have melted away. 

We took off together and she filled me in on her week at school (as I was out of town with one of my sons on a special vacation) and everything else I missed while I was away.  She covered the pretend games she played and the good, bad and ugly of living with her three brothers.  We were so intent in our conversation that we actually missed the fact my parents drove right past us.  The only reason we became aware of this fact is they turned around and came back to check on us. 

We talked about our plans for the summer, which season is the slowest at my office, and the difference between maiden names and married names.  It is really interesting what things a five year old can come up with to discuss.  Then she said something that piqued my interest more than the anything else.  “After we finish tonight, we have walked 7 and one half miles,” she stated with a proud smile on her face.  Having only gone about a mile and a half, I balked. 

She expanded on her thought process a bit more.  This was our third walk for the summer. The others were three miles each (we started out on those a bit earlier than this one.)  Adding them all together she was spot on with her calculation.  I realized she was, in fact, keeping track of our lifetime miles, though she called them “forever miles.”  I kind of like that phrase.  I let her know of my loving approval on her approach. 

Then the real calculating began, literally and figuratively.  As we continued, she began asking what her reward should be when we reach 100 miles.  At first, I tried to pass off the reward as being the time spent with her mom, but that went over like a pregnant pole-vaulter.  I suggested some things, a few of which met with her approval.  After mulling this over a bit more, she wondered what we should do when we reach 1,000 miles together?  My answer was something to the effect that my reward would be “the book I get to write after 1,000 conversations.”  She laughed and suggested a vacation was a far better idea.

Regardless, it got me thinking about the fact that whether or not we reach 100, 1,000, or even 10,000 miles together in our lifetime, we will have time spent enjoying one another.  Time is a gift we should all appreciate.  I am well aware of the fact in 10 years, she could recoil at the thought of taking a walk with dear old mom, but what if she doesn’t? 

I can only hope this is the beginning of something beautiful.   At the very least, when she is fifteen, I can remind her of the awesome idea that formed in her impressionable 5 year old mind.  Imagine the conversations we will have had after 1,000 miles with one another?  It is going to be a great summer. 

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