Daddy tries to know the unknown

I love hearing the Little Girl talk about her life.

In sweet tangles of conversation that are sometimes difficult to follow, I listen to her observations, misperceptions, desires, complaints.

So much of the way she thinks is changing as she grows, and I am breathless to keep up.

What’s especially striking is how her head is filling up. Just a few years ago, her world was small and I knew pretty much what was inside her brain and how it got there. She was a tiny pond being fed by a single spring.

Nowadays, though, the Little Girl is a student, a reader, a TV watcher, a (supervised) Internet user, a peer among friends – in other words, a creature of the culture.

That single spring has been augmented by dozens of other streams, deepening the pond and overflowing its banks. How arrogant of me to think that I could know her wholly by knowing what flows into her brain.

Hard as it is to accept, I have no special knowledge of what my baby knows, and how she knows it. I’m a loving bystander, trying to direct and shape a life I’m powerless to direct and shape.

Oh, I can suggest and cajole and expose her to good and wonderful things. But the Little Girl is her own person.

And a father has to learn to live with that.

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