Friday, March 12, 2010

Building a Life

My daughter didn’t play with blocks the way an average child does – the way I did when I was young. Oh, we would start out that way: building some kind of structure, seeing how complicated and tall we could make it; then gleefully knocking it down.

What happened next was what intrigued me. Four-year-old Allie would start arranging the fallen blocks by size, shape and color. She had formed an imaginary company and the blocks were her inventory. She proceeded to define for me her business plan:

"You have to call me and order blocks. Then you bring your truck and pay me.” She never endured the building/demolition phase beyond one round. The buying and selling game might go on for an hour. Clearly she had no intent of becoming a laborer; her future was as an entrepreneur.

And she was a tough businessperson; I had to have money when I arrived to pick up my order of blocks. We had a container of coins that became part of our games – indeed it was often a game itself. “Let’s play ‘money’,” she would command. I don’t remember how that game went exactly but it did involve sorting the coins by denomination.

To express her creative side, Allie would dance. We had CDs of classical music that, as we had been advised by “parenting experts” we bought to stimulate our infant's brain. Now, after a year of dance classes, Allie used the CDs as the sound track to her home dance studio. She would choreograph her own dance and guide me in following her steps. When I was not spinning or lumbering in the opposite direction, I would catch sight of her rolling eyes and disapproving expression. I was a poor but indulgent dance student.

Thirteen years later I was moving her in to her dorm, freshman year at The Ohio State University. She began hanging her extensive inventory of clothing, sorting them by color, style and type of garment. I was still bringing and giving her all my money.

Next week she graduates, Summa Cum Laude, after less than 3 short years. She will not be selling things, her degree is in psychology, but she will be an entrepreneur; she intends to have her own practice after grad school. I am not going to make any jokes or analogies involving mental blocks or stumbling blocks because she would think that was stupid and tell me to change it.

You see, I am still ready to dance to her tune, willing to do whatever she asks if I possibly can.


Anonymous said...



Cali said...

Congrats Allie! :)