Addy simply couldn’t wait to be 8.
Maybe it’s a number thing. Or an age thing.
She constantly talks about (and the math geek in me loves this) how many years she can count down until she can drive and “go to college.”
I, of course, tell her that she’s ever-closer to being able to vote. That doesn’t resonate as much.
Still, my daughter seems to be far more cognizant of her age than I was at said age.
But this isn’t about how much things were different in 1981. That’s when I was 8.
This is about Addy’s year of 7 and transition into second grade: a year I could nary see coming and certainly one I wasn’t prepared for.
For almost five months now, Addy has been taking drum lessons. For nearly six years, she’s been playing organized soccer. I can safely say I did neither growing up.
So as my wonderful daughter takes on these challenges, she also leaves behind what it was to be 7: less drama; less teasing; less, well, life.
I want Addy so badly to know the realities of the world while saving her from those same truths. I want her to learn to fall and get up, but to be able to relieve that pain immediately. I know from my own sometimes painful childhood that’s simply impossible.
Addy’s 8th birthday was spent at a skating rink, learning the lessons we all did in the same oval during our youth. Back then, we didn’t have the safety mechanisms the kiddos have today, though. I have to wonder what my dad would have said about the walker-type assistance that some rinks offer kids that don’t fully know how to skate yet.
God forbid I go there: but in our day, we just skated and fell. And skated. And tripped. And did something that looked like skating. And toppled over one another.
Regardless, Addy and her friends enjoyed No. 8 at the rink, surrounded by family, cake and gifts. She’s already fallen in a multitude of ways and, each time, her loved ones have been there to pick her up. Often, we will be there to do that. Sometimes we won’t. And she will pick herself up, dust herself off and hold her head up high.
At least that’s my hope.
The training wheels and skating assistance are slowly coming off. I keep trying to put myself back in 8-year-old John’s shoes to see how I acted, reacted and handled life as it came at me. Different times. Same challenges and opportunities.
Happy birthday Addy-pop. Eight will indeed be great.
Mostly, because, kiddo, you’ve got this.
Editor's Note: John Beaudoin is a Lee's Summit resident and award winning writer and former newspaper publisher in the Lee's Summit community. Views and opinions expressed in his columns do not necessarily reflect those of Link 2 Lee's Summit, it's employees or any other guest contributors.