Wednesday, April 17, 2019

A Life Changing Walk

As a school administrator, my weekly schedule is insane. My mornings are a whirlwind trying to get my oldest daughter and I out the door while my wife is busy with the other two kids. I often have one or two evenings with school events, a Saturday event, and the following Monday comes before I have a chance to blink.

While I get quite a bit of time with my oldest, since we go to the same school and spend time in the car together, my younger two need a little more time with me. But between dance lessons, piano classes, performances, competitions, concerts, and school events, I never know if I'm coming or going, and that special time can be difficult to find. 

Every Tuesday our two girls have piano lessons, lasting thirty minutes each. My middle daughter gets dropped off at her teacher's house, and I bring my oldest after school. I often spend the half hour waiting for
the end of the lesson running errands, on a phone call, or responding to emails on my phone. 

But a few months ago something happened that changed my weekly routine. 

When I dropped off my oldest, my middle daughter came bounding out and told me that she finished her lesson early. I was planning on walking around the neighborhood, so we decided that we would walk together that day. We walked down the street to the high school, watched part of a softball game, talked about her day, and laughed. That night before she went to bed she told me how much she loved our time together. 
Sometimes we even find flowers for our hair

The following week she was waiting at the door of the piano teacher's house when I pulled up, running out and saying, "I finished my piano lesson early. Can we walk again?" This became a weekly habit, and I found myself looking forward to our 30 minutes of uninterrupted time together.

Then one week she did not come running out. I waited in the front yard of the piano teacher's house, thinking that maybe she was just finishing up her lesson. Eventually I wandered the neighborhood by myself, not knowing why my daughter missed what had become our weekly date. I didn't realize how sad I was not to have her company.

When the girls' lesson was over and we were all driving home, my middle daughter told me that she wasn't able to walk because she didn't finish her music theory homework for that week. But she said that she missed our walk so much that she wasn't going to miss her music theory homework any more.

So for the past several months, with the exception of that one week, my daughter and I can be found wandering the streets of a neighborhood in Chandler, Arizona, on our weekly date.

No money is spent. No plans are made. But there are dozens of cartwheels, lots of laughter, and a dad and his daughter spend thirty minutes making life-long memories together. 

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