Archive for April, 2011

Flying Cars

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

All she wants in life is a flying car. She’ll skip the jet pack and the robot chef. And now I understand just how different Grace’s life is from my own.

I look back on my life and the story is simple. No Internet, no GPS and no flying cars. Grace’s life is already 2 for 3. Still, that’s not the half of it. As we travel the country on vacation seeing the sights from Las Vegas to the great Rocky Mountains, what is simply stupidfying to me is boring to Grace. “Dad – how many times do we have to get out of the car to take a picture”, she comments from the backseat of the RV. For me, it’s something all together different. This is about the world I’ve never seen and the desire to share it all with my prodigy. For her it is nothing more than one more excuse to stop the ITouch (another thing I never had as a child) and put on the shoes to take a picture (and that’s a digital one no less – not a 35 millimeter – no developing required, instant gratification).

I don’t understand. Of course it’s probably the same thing my parents said as they made me stop my Walkman and step outside the orange colored VW bus (which never worked in the first place) to share in experience of stopping at yet another scenic gas station to watch my father take a sledge hammer to the engine that stopped working once again. Oh, the good old days…

Gracie’s life is so much different. And now as she nears 9 years old, I suddenly feel old. In her short life she’s already done more than I’ve done in almost 36 years. Even her perspective is different. I open the newspaper each morning and look to see what the weather is. She opens the same newspaper and asks where her picture is (thank you “Notes Left Behind” which made her the immediate center of attention). Is not that she expects it, but after two years of attention, her perspective is slightly different. And what is a novelty for any other child is normal for Gracie.

Still, it doesn’t affect her the way we thought. Last year her teacher remarked to us how “grounded” Gracie was even after appearing on The Today Show. I guess that’s what makes Gracie “Gracie”. For her it was nothing new. For her it was about life; for her it was about her sister. And what should have been a lesson to her about humility became a lesson for us instead about living. And once again she was the teacher. Nothing else mattered than life.

In 8 years, Gracie has become our teacher. In her eyes we have grown old. In her eyes we have come to see the world in a new way. In her eyes we have learned to appreciate life – not because of the majesty of the Grand Canyon or countless other spectacles we see on vacation – instead because of the humility we place before it. And for this lesson I am grateful. In time we will see more and no doubt learn more. And she will show us the way. I can’t wait to learn – even if it doesn’t ever result in a flying car.