Always in my heart

Sky

On the occasion of my daughter’s 18th birthday, I have boxes of pictures and just as many stories to share about her. My life hasn’t been what it was before she was born on April 4, 1999, and I don’t mind that one little bit.

Being a parent once scared me to death. Nothing quite compares to holding a little one in your hands, figuratively and literally. I put it off for all of my twenties, and by the time I hit 30 it couldn’t be deferred much longer.

I’m sharing one picture here, and one story as well. The picture was taken when she was in kindergarten, and it shows the happy but shy girl that she was in those days. Looking at it reminds me of how kindergarten once seemed far away, and yet one day it arrived. And now she’ll be going away to college in a few months. I’ve always made a point of enjoying it while it lasted, because it sure didn’t last for very long.

My favorite story about the lovely girl who forever changed my life took place a few days before she was born. My wife and I had tickets to see a musical at the Oriental Theater in Chicago. During one rousing musical number–I think it was in the second act–my wife grabbed by hand and pressed it against her side. I was amazed to feel my unborn daughter kicking along with the music. She’s always been a theater kid, and studying musical theater in high school is as natural for her as a fish swimming in water. But I truly believe it started for her on that night.

She’s grown so much in the 18 years she’s been with us, and it’s been such a joy to watch it all happen. The law says she’s an adult now, and she can do many more things today than she could yesterday. I’ve lost whatever legal rights and responsibilities I ever had for her, but my job as a parent isn’t done, nor is it ever likely to be. So we’ll keep on travelling down that path toward whatever she’s going ┬áto be in life.

This is an important day in her life and in mine, and I’m writing this to recognize how far the two of us have come together. It’s been quite a ride so far, and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

Stone cold numbers

My older daughter began her academic career at Stone Scholastic Academy in Chicago. In the days that she was there, the Chicago Public Schools made a concerted effort to keep their magnet schools at an even racial balance between whites, African Americans, Asian-Americans, and Latinos. And Stone actually achieved this balance very well, with all four groups being somewhere near 25% of the student body. It didn’t reflect the racial realities of this city, but it was a pretty neat thing to see when it was put into practice.

I thought of this as I looked at a national exit poll that was produced by Fox News.The numbers revealed that President Obama won just 39 percent of the white vote, and Governor Romney won 59%. But that’s the only victory that Romney won, as Obama got 93% of the African American vote, and upwards of 70% of the Asian-American and Latino vote. So three of the four racial groups went for Obama, and by large enough margins to offset Romney’s advantage with white voters.

Unless the Republicans can find some way to change these numbers, they’ll never again win a presidential race. They’ll win congressional races and senate seats in places where the population is mostly white people, but in a national race–where everyone gets to vote–the Republicans are now officially doomed. How long it remains that way will be entirely up to them.