On the heels of my “Dad to the Bone” post a few days ago, I now report on events of this day that represent small but significant developments in the lives of Daughter #1 (codename: “Faith”) and Daughter #2 (codename: “Patience”).
Night Visions and I accompanied Patience to a nearby government branch office to request a passport for her and so I could sign a document giving my permission for my wife to take Patience out of the country. Signing this is not a big deal for us, but it did give me pause to consider the heartbreak in other families that lead to this rule.
Anyway, the two of them are planning to go to China this summer to visit a friend of ours who has been managing an orphanage over there for the last couple of years. They will see the Great Wall, help with the infants (almost all girls, I understand) and get a chance to see what it is like to live where your faith must be kept under cover.
Faith and I will be staying behind for this trip as Faith will be working through the summer on earning her cosmetology license. Despite being just 16, she’s enrolled at a local beauty school and, in fact, today was her first day of being “on the floor,” available to work on real live heads of hair. And then tonight she had her first rehearsal as a harmony singer with our church band.
These are relatively small steps for each of them, but as a father I’m all too aware which way the footprints are pointing: away. Each step on their respective paths, however, is consistent with who they are and who they are on their way to being. For Patience, compassion has always overflowed from her. I can remember her as a toddler crying when a cartoon character got hit with a hammer, or if she saw people fighting on television. She has listened raptly when our friend on trips back to the States has visited our home and spoken of the hardships and conditions the children and babies at the orphanage face. When the invitation was extended to her there wasn’t much question in her mind about whether she wanted to go or not. This will be an awesome experience that will undoubtedly shape her life.
For Faith, her request to go to beauty school was a bit surprising but logical. She’s always had a sense of color and style, proclaiming at age four that the mess of her bedroom was “a design” and insisting at age six, “Mom, I know my magentas.” She doesn’t plan a career in this line of work, but had an intense interest for some time in learning about it and clinched her argument by saying it would be a great way for her to work herself through college and toward an as yet unknown field.
These are exciting times for all of us, but especially for my wife and I as we watch with great interest and considerable input (but not necessarily eagerness) each new opportunity. It’s not that hard, but it’s not that easy, either.
Having worked with Faith on composition and creative writing, I’ve invited her to share her talents from time to time on this blog. I even suggested that she could go by the name of “Beauty School Blogger,” a suggestion that earned me the Daughter of All Eye-rollings. Nevertheless, to top off this big day, I’m posting here a short piece she submitted that appeared on a Home Schooling Web site last summer:
A Glamorous Glimpse Into the Life of Faith
Hello; it is I, Faith, of whom you have heard so much.
So, dear readers, here I am in the dungeon (a.k.a. basement), trying to think of things to write about that might even be of the slightest interest to you.
I might tell you about my most recent and horrific trip to the dentist’s office.
There I was, sitting in the car on my way to the office of a dentist whose name I can’t remember how to spell. As you can probably imagine, I was just a teensy bit nervous. We pulled into the parking lot. No sooner had I walked through the door, than through the opposite door appeared a nurse.
“Faith?,” she said looking at me.
“Yes,” I replied miserably.
She would have taken me away right then had not the receptionist whipped out a paper for my mother to sign. While I was waiting for the commencement of my torture to be affirmed, my doctor entered the scene.
“Are you ready?” he said, smiling at me.
(This would probably be a good time to tell you why I was at the dentist’s, for it was no mere check-up. On an earlier visit he had sentenced me to have all four of my wisdom teeth pulled out. The crime: the bottom teeth were impacted, and my mouth was just too small to accommodate them all, top and bottom. I know it might be hard for those who know me well to imagine my mouth as too small, but it was.) Now back to the program:
I guess I was as ready as ever I could be.
“No,” I told him.
He laughed. That made me feel a whole lot better.
He and the nurse took me back to one of the little dentist rooms and I sat down. They then told me to open wide, and then they stuck me. Six times they shot me with Novocain. I had hoped there might be laughing gas, but no such luck. Oh, the humanity!
Anyway, to make a long, painful story mercifully shorter, they cracked both my bottom teeth in half and yanked them one half at a time, then they yanked the top teeth, which wasn’t as hard. Your head might hurt just reading this; but hey, I said mercifully short, not painless.
As for now, I am not too ashamed to say that I look like a chipmunk. After all, who wouldn’t after that ordeal? It is also hard to eat and drink and brush. Painful, too. They kept my teeth, by the way: otherwise I could have scored four bucks from the tooth fairy!
Oh, the humanity!!