the_child sings Papagena in her 7th grade class production of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute tonight. When I was in seventh grade, we were doing skits about a farmer and his horse. I cannot help but be impressed.
Recently, a high school friend who’d moved to Portland contacted me. We had lunch, and as a result, he, his wife and his daughter are planning to attend tonight. I had mentioned this to the_child, so yesterday she asked me his name, looked him up on Facebook, and sent him a note introducing herself and telling him how pleased she was he would be coming to the opera, and that she was looking forward to meeting him and his family. This piece of social grace was utterly on her own initiative.
In another frame, the mother of one of her school friends is having a very difficult struggle with metastatic cancer. Though she has not shared her prognosis, hope is growing thin on the ground right now. Yesterday the_child asked me, as she has once before, what her school friend would do without his mother. We had a long, thoughtful talk about cancer, death, parenting, love and community, but especially about the hopes of a parent for their child, and the needs of a child for their parent at the different stages of life. I didn’t have any good answers to give her, because there aren’t any in a time like this.
We also talked about what it meant to “fight” a disease. the_child pointed out that both calendula_witch and shelly_rae had been instrumental in keeping me fighting when I was at my worst. We agreed that love and family were very important.
Who is this mature, reflective, loving human being, and what has she done with my daughter?