July 24, 2006

When a desk is a life lesson

Very gently, tenderly, with some small confusion in her voice, the Girl Child tries to help me confront some of the inevitable facts of life.

I took the Girl Child and the Boy Child out for a drive on Sunday. We drove some of the back roads in Fairfield, CT, the next town over. Fairfield is lovely. Lots of old houses.

The Girl Child starts kindergarten come the autumn. She has been singing, “I’m going to kindergarten, kindergarten here I come. They’ve got a lot of higher education there and I’m gonna get me some”. Great excitement, you see. She knows that she is going to have homework. We were so informed and in turn we warned her. We told her that she would not need a desk yet because she would be doing her homework at the kitchen table where we could keep an eye on her. Really, what kind of homework do they give a kindergartner anyway?

So, back to Sunday and our ride. I spot a for sale sign on an old Federal style house along with a hot pink tag sale sign (link to real estate site, if you want to see what the house looked like). I should have a bumper sticker: “Warning, I brake for this kind of crap and I pull over and park on the side of the road as safely as I can but you should still be careful.” Long, but safety is job one, you know. Anyway, we pull through the gates and wander about. There it is. An old school room desk and chair. The chair has the initials bored school children carved on the seat with their pocket knives when you could still bring knives to school. The desk has a hole for the old ink well. It was perfectly sized for a small child. It was also only $25. I didn’t even try to negotiate. I just asked them to mark it sold while I dashed home to obtain a check. They were happy to hold it.

While driving back to the house, the kids and I had the following conversation:

Boy Child: Girl Child, I’m gonna be sad when you go to king-a-garden. You not gonna be there with me at home anymore.

Me: And I’m going to be sad, too.

GC: Why, pappa? You’re at work anyway.

Me: Because I’m not ready yet for you to grow up and it seems like you going to school is the first step in your growing up.

GC: [tone: puzzled, tentative, and gentle] Pappa, you know that time has to change, right? I mean, I have to go to school and grow up, right?

And there you have it. Even my daughter realizes this. Its just me who wants to hang on to the past. She was very sweet about it, though.

And she loves her new desk. It has a dark varnish on it that she notes will go well with her skin tone when she has a tan. We got it up to her room and she immediately put some paper in it.

Posted by Random Penseur at July 24, 2006 09:44 AM | TrackBack

That's a cute one, if a bit sad. Nice that she was so gentle with telling you she has to grow up instead of some little ones screaming "I'm not a baby .. bla bla bla".

I love those old desks too.

Posted by: Oorgo at July 24, 2006 10:34 AM

I had one of those desks. My grandfather got it for me, very likely the way you did. I loved it, and now my niece and nephews use it at my parents' house.
When I told them it had been my desk, they looked at the desk...looked at me...back at the desk...like it was impossible to believe.

Posted by: Nic at July 24, 2006 07:50 PM

The horns of the parenting dilemma: you want them to grow into successful and happy adults, but you alos want to hold onto them as long as possible.

Nice story.

Posted by: JohnL at July 24, 2006 10:20 PM

It's conversations and purchases like this that make me miss having a child.

I think I'm going to go hang out at Chuckie Cheese after work. It's a sure-fire cure for feelings like this. :-)

Posted by: Howard at July 25, 2006 01:57 PM

I love your Girl Child stories. She sounds like an amazing kid.

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