Aria at Six


Last week, Aria bounded off the bus and ran over to me – dying to tell me about the story she wrote at school. As she’s a mere one month away from the start of summer and more importantly – her graduation from Kindergarten to 1st Grade – her class has begun cobbling together all they know of the written langauage and have been constructing tales of their own. For the longest time, Aria’s featured a poor wayward duck who got stuck in the mud and always needed a friend to come along and help it up. Some days it was another duck. Some a dog. Others a sheep or some other friendly farm animal.

But this time, the duck was replaced by a pteranadon and he flew far in the sky – high above the lowly muck and mire – flapping those glorious wings and soaring through the heavens.

I was struck by two things. First of all – how did my little girl, all of five years old, know how to spell pteranadon, silent “p” and all? I asked her if she had help but she replied “I just sounded it out.” “What about the silent ‘p’?”, I asked. “I remembered that it was too loud so the pterandon asked it to be quiet.” That was her little mnemonic device and a pretty clever one at that.

Secondly, the symbolism wasn’t lost on me. From a little duck to a soaring pteranadon, my little girl has developed so fast and furious. In the span of one full year, her reading and writing skills have blossomed. And more importantly – her creativity knows no bounds. It’s what you hope for in your kids. That anything they can dream up, they can someday – hopefully – make a reality. Well, maybe not an actual pteranadon (that’s not good for any of us lowly humans) but saving a duck from the mud has got to be worth something.

And the fact that my little princess finds equal entertainment in lost damsals and giant dinos just hit me in that sweet spot that Daddy’s Little Girls know how to mine exclusively. They swing away at it and walk away with a lifetime perfect batting average. Everytime out, swinging for the fences and nailing you exactly where it counts; right where your heart beats a bit faster.

This is just the beginning of her assault on my soft spot. In a few weeks, right smack dab in the middle of Father’s Day weekend, Aria dances in her third annual dance recital. I’ve spoken about this in the past but it’s worth repeating. These recitals are exceptional in that over the course of three hours you can track the development of a dancer from preschool to pre-college – and the show this studio puts on is amazing entertainment; run with tight military precision and produced with artistic professionalism. Three hours go by in a fraction of that time.

When Aria first began three years ago, her routine was a short 3-minutes on stage with a handful of other girls, demonstrating the building blocks. This year alone, we have seen some major strides up the ladder. I’m aching to see the final product and as always, my heart and mind will leap forward to the future – tracking what dreams may come.

It’s habit and hard to break but I aim to slow time. She’s growing so old so quickly. And as this sand trickles downward, we see her personality shaping and changing in so many glorious ways. In some ways, she is a mirror on to me. And of Andi. And a smidge of her big brother Colin. But those are just influences – minor ingredients in the recipe. There is so much brewing that is a creation all her own.

Like that happy little pteranadon sporting a smile as wide as its wing span, Aria Leigh is already off to great heights. As each day passes, I look forward to charting her course.

Happy 6th Birthday Aria Leigh!!!

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