Monday, October 13, 2008

Mermaids

The following is an excerpt from my book, "Daddy's Little Girl":

"Fran’s fondest memory of time spent with her dad is of when he took her on her first boat ride in the bay. As they leaned on the railing, wind in their hair, watching the waves roll past and the sun approaching the horizon, she pointed forward and announced she had just spotted a mermaid.

Her dad laughed, scanned the horizon and said he wished he had seen it, too. Once back at the marina, he took Fran by the hand as they stepped off the boat and together they walked to a nearby bakery. Looking into the glass case, they mulled over whether they wanted chocolate or hazelnut dessert. Unable to make up their minds, they closed their eyes and randomly pointed. With their surprise selections in hand, they sat at an outdoor table and munched on crème filled pastries, talking until the sun finally slipped into the ocean.

Although dad told Fran quite a few things during that evening and the many others like it that followed, he never told her there really weren’t such things as mermaids. It was her youthful innocence that he treasured, and he hoped they could hold on to it just a bit longer."

I remember well how much I hoped Meagan would be saved from learning one of the great cruelties of life, that she be spared the heartache and disappointment of a failed young love. I now have those same worries with Linley as I watch the 14 year old woman in my life begin to have an interest in boys, or as I sometimes call it, take her first steps into the brambles of relationships. I'm sure she will do well, she has three adults looking out for her best interest, but I'm not sure how well Jill is doing. It seems she is always on the verge of fainting whenever the idea crosses her mind that her daughter might be making sugar with someone.

And relationships are only the start of a long list of all things a parent fears for his child.

But the truth is parents should never save their child from the experiences of life: a child protected from life's aches and pains in all their forms is a child not permitted to grow up, a child unprepared for living when the parents are no longer able to provide shelter and rescue.

A mermaid is at her most beautiful when allowed to swim confident and free in the open sea. I have one mermaid now out in the ocean blue, and another on the way. She will stumble, she will fall, and one day she will set out on her own, able and sure.

OK, 'nough said. Now go out there and hug somebody!

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