O.M.G. (Older Man’s Gift)
As I contemplate the pending ascension of my soon-to-be freshman in high school daughter, Meisha Kalila, I take a look around to see how quickly this all came about. It feels like it was just a few short years ago when I accompanied her to her first day of Kindergarten, this bouncy, yet shy girl who could already speak another language other than English. Her day care provider, Sara Chinchilla, a woman born in El Salvador, had been mindful to teach Meisha and the other children trusted to her care, the language of her native land. And now, my bi-lingual five year old was ready to begin her formal education.
Within three days the kindergarten teacher had consulted with the principal of the school to say that this Lampkin kid was not going to last long in her classroom. Seems that she was a bit more advanced than most of the children and she feared that she would be bored. And so, in just one week, Meisha had been promoted to first grade. It was quite an auspicious beginning to her educational journey.
It didn’t get any easier from that point forward. For it was then that we saw how mean kids can be…when it was learned that the first graders in Meisha’s class would tease her for not being a “real first grader.”
Just one week ago I saw my daughter walking proudly with many of those same kids who are also preparing to become high school students. No one had anything to say about the girl who was a full year younger than many of them. A girl who, when she felt like it. held her ground with each of them scholastically and athletically. Yes, the distance between them that had seemed so cavernous eight years ago is now the bridge that they individually and collectively traverse.
What a gift she has been to me. A father once more at the age of 48 years…
I know that the chance to share my story with her, in an effort to inform her of the possibilities available in this life, is what I seek to impart. The challenges we face as a nation, as a people and a family must be channeled in a positive, yet honest, conversation for Meisha to grasp. Truth with tender love is a recipe for a nurtured soul capable of serving humankind in ways that we may all gain benefit.
Today, as I have been for all of her days of living, I am a proud Father.
The next time you see the letters OMG, think of something other than Oh my God. I do.