Malcolm McDowell Woods
From the editor

The shape of hope

By - Jun 1st, 2009 12:00 am
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Again, I’m feeling the pull. A school year nears its end and the other parents of my son’s classmates and I meet to discuss eighth grade graduation.

It’s not just me that notices this sort of thing, is it? The relentless tug of time? The pull of this inevitable, steady march?

In my mind’s eye, they are still children: Austin, on the wee scooter he used around the house; Hannah sailing high on a swing, her face the very picture of delight; Rose sitting at a small table, hosting a tea party.

But those days are long gone. Austin is in the jazz ensemble at his school. At the spring concert he looks quite the young man in his sportcoat, shirt and tie as he plays his trumpet. This young man is growing more sure of his opinions each day, making his own music.

Hannah is all grace and cheer. Writing stories, drawing pictures, forming her own beliefs and ideas.

Rose illuminates the stage at her school as the lead in the spring musical.
They move at a velocity that astounds me, headed for destinations unknown. I am left to marvel in their wake.

When did this happen? I wonder.

Well, today and yesterday and all the other days is when. In tiny steps and huge bounds it happened. The morning they packed their own lunch for school. The night they stayed up to watch a movie on the television after I headed to bed. The day they headed off to camp, or on overnight field trips or to sleepovers at friends.

It happens always.

I thought I might be more saddened by this, by the fade of their childhoods, but the sheer force of their pace excites me and I find myself wanting to race headlong into tomorrow with them.

Where once I took solace in hugs and kisses and small hands grasping mine, now I brighten at text messages and smiles. Laughs are still shared, but I am more often than not the butt of the joke now. Already, the worlds they move in is foreign to me – the technology, the music, the expectations and the challenges.

And that’s OK. These things all may change but I find myself hopeful.
Because every life has speed and direction and force and the dust they each kick up in their mad dash into the future is sprinkled liberally with stardust and hope.

I stand in their wake and revel in optimism.

Years ago, I remember a friend telling me he was reluctant to have children, that he felt too pessimistic about the future.

Perhaps he was just a pessimist.

I look at these three and I see the future; I see hope given shape.

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