Stranger in the House

There I was, Kenpo-ing in my living roomkicking imaginary intruders back to the hellmouth they crawled out of with Tony Horton rooting me on in my TV set (do we still call it a “set”, or is that not necessary anymore?) when a stranger walked down the stairs. She was tall and elegantly-dressed, and looked vaguely familiar. She caught my eye as I ball kicked/back kicked obliviously, and my first thought was: there’s someone unexpected in the house. Didn’t look like a kickable threat, but still…I wondered who let her in the place. Then I realize she’d been here all along.

But she almost never wears dresses.

And she doesn’t usually look like she’s going to a cocktail party.

“Hi, Daddy,” she said.

“Hey, Mid-Luna,” I said. “I didn’t even recognize you. You’re all dolled up.”

“It’s picture day at school,” she informed me. “For eighth-grade promotion.”

Right…eighth-grade promotion. Otherwise known as The Event That Will Turn Another One of My Kids into a High-Schooler.

I’m still settling into the idea that the open road has my eldest in its grip. Knowing my middling one is hurtling along right behind her is a little too much parental reality for me. Their little brother is barreling down their wake. Thankfully, our dinner table is still filled with silly word play that devolves into fart jokes every night—my proof that, in spite of their rapidly-advancing ages, they all still have plenty of childhood left in them. But sometimes, when they put on clothes they don’t usually wear and reference events that used to be far off on the horizon but are now staring all of us down at the next turnpike, I catch a glimpse and see one of them in future tense, in holographic images of someone I haven’t met yet.

Someone forthcoming. 

Someone I haven’t really come to terms with having to meet, knowing every moment I’ll have no choice but to make their acquaintance in the not-so-distant future: My kids as grown-ups.

No amount of Kenpo can kick that reality back into the distance.

Makes for a wistful Tuesday.

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  • reply George Hilbert ,

    This kicks up quite a memory for me. I have two very grown daughters (Well, they both have families of their own)….I remember the times very similar to the one you describe. In a related note, my family runs tall, as well as my son-in-law’s as well…..My daughter just told us the other day that my granddaughter (14 years old) is six feet tall in heels….

    • reply Steven Luna ,

      Whoa! A tall one, indeed. Mine are outgrowing me, too…makes their not-much-longer-a-kid-ness seem much closer.

    • reply Anonymous ,

      Awesome stuff, very funny! Also, my deepest apologies for what comes next.

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