My elder daughter broached the subject of when she should start her Driver’s Ed course. Boy, was that a mistake. Not only did it bring back my own memories of Austrian Driving School, but she was really jumping the gun here!
“You know I am going to be 18 next summer,” she said.
“No you’re not.”
“You are NOT! At least not if I have anything to say about it!”
We quickly agreed that this license thing was a topic she should take up with her Papa.
18! My first baby is going to be 18 next year! And the way time has sped up since we’ve had her – this is going to feel like . . . next month!
I suddenly remembered a box of little treasures I kept upstairs in my closet, because I’d had a vague plan of giving it to her on her 18th birthday. I dragged it out and found the blanket she was wrapped in when I first held her, the first baby bottle we used, her baptism presents and dress, her first stuffed animal . . .
And then I found these:
During the adoption process, I was teaching the third of a four year course and had developed a close relationship with a lot of my students. They were aware of my situation and even a little emotionally involved. When we came home with Mitzi, a lot of them visited us with presents in hand. That is how this little stuffed sheep – whom we named Fritz – became Mitzi’s Velveteen Rabbit for a while. Two other students later presented me with the book “Fritz the Sheep”. They had drawn all the pictures and written the text themselves. Some people are so incredibly thoughtful and good at gift-giving! (I’m not one of them.) I adored this book from the start and displayed it prominently in my house. Unfortunately, it suffered a little water damage once when a wild thunderstorm blew open the porch door and caused some minor flooding. And Fritz himself is also looking a bit forlorn. But both still qualify as priceless. So I’ve decided to share them.
Here’s the (translated summary of the) story:
Fritz the Sheep lives in a nice place outside a small village, but for some reason, he is a little sad and a little lonely. He decides to take a walkabout.
He meets Lisa the Cow and tells her about his travels. Lisa doesn’t really understand why he isn’t satisfied.
Fritz meets Pino the Woodpecker. (Let it be known here that “Pino” was the nickname of one of the authors.) Pino tells Fritz that what he is really looking for is happiness and tries to teach him to fly. It doesn’t work out well.
As Fritz wanders away, Pino decides he could still help. He brings Fritz to a birdhouse where they meet Gina the Cat. (Let it be known that our Cat One was named Gina.) Gina is nasty and makes fun of Fritz at first, but after Pino flatters her, she decides to help. And, deep down, she is wise and has a good heart.
Gina leads them to a house, telling Fritz that she spends a lot of time there. (Just like our house at the time, there is a rocking chair on the front porch, a basketball stand and a blue car.) Fritz asks why they are there. Gina tells him to figure it out for himself and takes off.
Fritz is greeted by a barking gray woolly sheepdog named Whitney. (Long-time blog readers will know her as “Dog Two” – and if they look closely down the hallway, they will see “The Nemesis”.) Whitney makes it clear to Fritz that no one can come in here – unless, of course, they have a reason to . . . then it’s okay.
Fritz saunters into the house and then goes out to the terrace where he finds me reading to Mitzi – who doesn’t look at all sleepy. He has an idea.
Fritz starts jumping over the fence again and again until Maria gets tired and falls asleep. This makes Fritz happy and he decides to stay with this family till the end of his days.
So, the plan was to give these things to Mitzi on her 18th birthday – that is what a thoughtful and great gift-giver would do. (Did I mention I am not one of them?) But I suddenly find myself having a little trouble with the thought of letting precious things go. Maybe she will just have to wait a bit longer – like . . . say . . . until she has her own first child (assuming that happens).
Serves her right for growing up so fast.