I am no longer the proud Daddy of two pre-schoolers.
My eldest daughter started kindergarten today.
It's a bigger milestone than I thought. She, of course, has been excited for months. She walked into class, saw a neighborhood friend and ran to sit next to him. No, "bye daddy!" hugs or kisses. Nope. My little budding Einstein took to her first day like a fish to water. Guess that's one of the joys of instilling confidence in your child, and ensuring she has had lots of opportunities to practice her social skills before embarking on her school career. Now she'll perfect the reading and math skills she's been developing too.
But in many ways she's still my little girl, uncertain and wondering. We returned from my parents' house on Sunday evening (so we could do the Fair thing yesterday - great time had by all, not nearly enough fat/sugar consumed by your humble narrator, but there's always next year. I did get to introduce both daughters to the joy of cheese curds, so that was something.) After a long weekend away, I expected her to be asleep within a few minutes of tucking her in. An hour later she called me into her room with a soft "Daddy...I need you." Specifically, she needed to tell me that she "doesn't want to die."
Proves we share more than blood - I don't want to die either. At the same time, I know that on the other side of death is Heaven. And I know that death is the inevitable penalty we choose when we sin.
So for a few minutes we talked about death, and in the profound way that only children can. I told her about how death really isn't the end; Heaven awaits because our punishment has been paid. I told her how someday we'd have new bodies that never get tired, sore, sick or hurt - and that never die. That we'd be together as a family forever, and more importantly we'd be with God. I even told her that some people won't die - that those who are alive when Jesus returns will be caught up to Heaven instead. She asked me to pray that Jesus would come back soon so she didn't have to die, but could go right to Heaven. She picks things up quickly, that one.
I love that she asks me to pray for things. I love that she has unshakeable faith in the power of prayer (and only slightly less shakeable faith in her Daddy to have answers to her questions.) Most of all I love how the important things of life will always be taught at home. School is a good thing. But the vital things are aren't in the public school curriculum. Rather, they come from God Himself. I pray that I'll always be willing and able to answer these questions on the oh so important things, and that she'll trust her questions to me and my wife.
Even if the questions are asked an hour after bedtime.