A day in the life of a 5-year-old
by Ron Walker
To our delight, Orllyene and I celebrate Easter in wooded wonderland Graeagle, Calif. We’ll be staying at Randy (son) and Rosemary’s (his wife) vacation home. Minutes after we arrive, Tom, our Napa Valley son, arrives with bulging bags of home-grown oranges and Meyer lemons.
The next day Mark (now deemed “grandson”) and Jenelle (our granddaughter) arrive with their “Flower Girls,”: Violet (2½), Rose (3½) and Lily (5).
Orllyene tells Lily how nice she looks in her new Easter dress. Lily instantly responds with a very grown up “thank you.” (She knows this to be the correct response.)
My curiosity is piqued and I inquire, “Jenelle, would you give me a brief recap of one of Lily’s days?” Without hesitation she responds, “Lily’s busiest day is Wednesday. She’s in school from 9-2:45, and then she has her French lesson. From there it’s her “rock climbing” session for a half hour. Following that, we go to her violin lesson. Ms. Pietra, Lily’s teacher, insists that Lily practice every day, no exceptions, and that I should be there, but allows no distractions. She now practices on a foam violin, but we just rented a child’s violin.”
“After the violin lesson,” Jenelle continues, “it’s off to swimming. Lily is on the swim team. When that’s finished, we have sandwiches in the car on the way home. There she does her homework and practices her violin.”
Mark and Jenelle do allow for flexibility in the lives of the girls. They have been to New York twice (Mark was invited to be in the marathon on one occasion), Kauai twice (Randy and Rosemary accompanied them on both trips), and Dublin twice (Mark’s business trips).
The conversation shifts to how Lily chose the violin.
“A year or so ago,” Jenelle says, “Lily wanted to take karate. Lily is a very “princess-type” little girl, so I thought, how great. For nine months she took classes and eventually was invited to join a black belt program. I told her what an honor that was, but she said in the sweetest kind of way, ‘Mommy, I know it would make you happy if I took karate, but I really don’t want to do karate anymore.’”
“At first I thought of all the money and time we’d spent, and being so close to a black belt, but in the end decided to drop karate. Then, when Lily saw a lovely young lady performing with a violin, her passion for the violin surfaced and she asked Santa for a violin, and here we are.”
What about Mark in this equation? Mark is everywhere, doing everything. He is up first in the morning, makes breakfasts for everyone, prepares lunches for the girls to take to school, and then is off to work. He sometimes picks them up and takes them to their activities, and is then a big part of preparing dinner. He also resolves “Flower Girl” disputes, finds lost toys, and is peerless in the matter of “potty training.” His shining achievement is “S’mores” around the bonfire.
As you can imagine, Orllyene and I had a lovely Easter.
Ron Walker can be reached at email@example.com.