Monday, July 27, 2009

Arriba, middle child

Our middle child went out into the world today to seek her fortune.

My sweet wife and I were blessed with five children.

The first, a boy, is protected by the might of the US military. In fact, he is part of the might of the US military. In school, his squadron's motto was "First takes care of its own." The US military does indeed take care of its own, and so we trust that he is both safe and successful. His future is also well in hand, whether in or out of the military.

The second, a girl, is married with two children. She has the luxury in today's world of being a stay-at-home mother. She and her husband have had an adventurous life so far, and their future is secure with a government job and all the associated benefits. They have successfully sold their first house, and will soon move to a new location.

The fourth, also a girl, is in the middle of an 18-month mission, after which she will return to her university studies. God holds her in the hollow of His hand, and angels guard her footsteps until her mission is completed.

The last, a boy, is in his final year of high school. He is on track to fulfill his lifelong ambition of becoming a doctor, an ambition that he is pursuing with the same singlemindedness that has taken his older brother to success in the military.

But the middle child -- ah. Tradition holds that the middle child is the bellwether of the family, and that the success or failure of the family can be judged by the success or failure of the middle child. Our middle child left this morning, in the pre-dawn darkness, to seek her fortune in the world.

She has been preparing for this date, consciously or unconsciously, for 25 years. Her preparations have taken her to Europe, to South America, and all over the United States, have placed her in the spotlight on countless stages, and have made her a Joan of Arc to hundreds -- no, thousands -- of eager youth and young adults. Now, as her preparations come to an end and the Rest of Her Life begins, she goes to make her mark in the world as a middle school teacher.

That doesn't sound like much. In fact, at first, it sounds rather anticlimactic. Believe me, the world won't know what hit it.

She will be taking over and reviving the vocal music and drama programs at a middle school in Colorado Springs. That wasn't her plan: her plan was to teach at a high school in Boston, Seattle, Austin, or someplace else with energy and ambitions to match her own. But, like tardy suitors, Boston, Seattle and Austin made their moves too late. She couldn't wait around for them, and she had already made a commitment to Colorado Springs before the others came calling. Perhaps in the future they will have their turn.

We acknowledge the hand of God in our middle child's life. Everything that has happened to her has happened because of Him. She followed her dreams, and she made her own choices, but the choices and the opportunities were put there by God, as were the challenges and the obstacles.

The financial problems that are afflicting the nation have reached all the way down into our family. As we struggle with our own future, we look with hope and anticipation to our middle child, as we watch her taillights disappear down the road.

And the thought that keeps passing through my mind? It isn't "As the middle child goes, so goes the family." No, it's "Watch out, world. Here she comes."

1 comment:

The Springs Gardner Family said...

Wow, congrats on the success of your daughter finding a job that will be the beginning of a career in our wonderful economy and also nearby so that you and she can occasionally visit.