The wife and I are watching TV when the local news announces that the yearly kite festival held at Zilker Park will be postponed a week. We visited that festival this time last year, taking our son who was much too afraid of all the colorful flying creatures to enjoy the sites.
This event also marks a year since my then 21-year old daughter returned home after spending the previous 3 years attending classes at the East Texas Community College of Hard Knocks — Humility 101. And she didn't pass.
She left home to attend a real college. A predominately-black, Christian college in East Texas. But without my blessing, and against my warnings she decided to make a transfer.
Won't go into detail about how she spent those years. I'll just say that she turned away from the values my wife and I tried to instill. I felt the years had been wasted. The evenings spent drilling for spelling tests. The years she spent attending the "better schools." The summers of making her take art classes. Of encouraging her to take speech. Of expensive summer camps in the woods. Clarinet and golf lessons. Disneyland and science camps. Of insisting she participate in church activities where she'd be around people with values like mine. Of making her volunteer time at a hospital. All that effort was wasted. She rebelled. And I questioned the time I spent with my 3-year old son. Will I waste time again?
But then she called home. She was ready to leave of the College of Hard Knocks. Ready to make a new start. Although sitting in a dark apartment for three months with no electricity or water was a factor, I'm sure.
She came with nothing but the clothes on her back. And we welcomed her. We fed her. We clothed her. We loved her. She found a job and joined church. We finally could talk! Well, we could talk more. Well, we didn't talk for several weeks following a disagreement, but she had changed. In the four months that she'd been home, I discovered that she had grown up since originally leaving home. So I thought.
But she met a new guy and the School of Hard Knocks called on her once more. And she reenrolled, packed her bags and left. This time the Tuscon, Arizona Campus of Hard Knocks. On a farm with real goats.
Now she's having a baby.
But she's a good young woman, finally matured. And I'm proud of her. What I thought went to waste — my teaching, my values, my time — had simply been put on hold. She's falling back on those things. They've been there all along.
And she wants her son to have those same things we gave her. So she says. We'll see.