We drove our girls to the Everson Museum courtyard where students were gathering with many parents. They went into that crowd to find their friends, one of whom helped organize the march. Stephanie and I followed to see who was there. Once we knew they were settled, I said, let's get coffee and we walked to Recess Coffee near City Hall. We passed friends heading to the march and said hellos. Maybe they wondered where the hell we were going.
Along the way I told Stephanie how at school on Friday I had described my family life and one person said, don't even ask him because his life is perfect. Another said, perfect wife, perfect daughters, perfect pets probably. I shrugged and smiled because I really do have most everything at home I've ever wanted. Enough that we were walking away from the march to get coffee.
When we thought about things, long ago, we wanted smart kids who were independent but not desperate to get away. We wanted to be nurturing and loving. We wanted to teach and let the kids learn on their own. We knew we would have to let them go and become independent. Maybe that's everyone's plan. Stephanie though is good at doing in the moment so as to achieve those long-term goals of her parenting. She's not perfect but does parenting the way I do writing: she dives in without trepidation and knows she will find the right way. I'm no slouch at this stuff, but she's playing Major League Baseball as an all-star while I'm a good player on the farm team.
I wanted to explain all this to anyone wondering why we were walking away. It's all part of our plan.
And I wanted coffee.
The march was excellent. I'm proud to know Saoirse Murphy-Collins who organized and gave the my favorite speech. It wasn't just that she is one of my daughters' best friends. I'm a writer and a teacher and she did everything I would have done as a writer and everything I would have asked her to do if I was her teacher. She wrote a speech that worked at every level. It was on target, unique, delivered in a cadence and tone that responded to the crowd, and was both full and brief. I couldn't have done it any better. I'm not sure I could have done it as well.
Our girls were up front, making a difference, chanting, cheering their friends at the lectern, and standing up for what's right.
They didn't need us there much. Really, they just needed a ride there and if we hadn't been able to do that, they would have found another way. They appreciated us buying hot chocolate after hours in the crisp, March cold, but even that they could have taken care of without us.
This is just what we wanted. We aren't disposable to them by any means or unappreciated, but they've learned how to take care of themselves, what sides to choose, and how to stand up. And it doesn't bother them to see in the crowd that Stephanie and I are standing in support, beaming from a distance. They're used to it having seen us there nearly every moment since they were each born.
They'll keep marching. I can't wait to see where they get to next.