Every Thursday I get to my brother’s house and after dinner with the boys, my niece and I begin our activity for the evening while her dad puts the bros to bed.
Sometimes, this activity is homework. At age 10 and in 4th grade, AD is a reading whiz, an articulate young writer, has decent penmanship when she tries, and is getting better at math. She is often tired at the end of the day, but she usually does her work without much complaining.
Homework: answer questions from the social studies magazine. Do the math packet on decimals. Read a paperback for 30 minutes (approximately…), go on dad’s laptop and do ExtraMath. In the process of this, she fills me in on what her teacher is up to (she’s had several leave the last few years to have babies), what her friends were goofing about at lunch, or art, or recess or afterschool club aka “Wolf Pack”. There is a lot of goofiness in Grade 4. And she talks about her progress in violin, about various upcoming activities and field trips, soccer, her dog, her cousins, the news from her mom’s house side of things, and, with increasing frequency, what the boys in class are up to.
Sometimes, there is no homework, and we play indoor games of AD’s creation. This used to involve a lot of dolls and makebelieve. But now, there are different things: art contests with a timer, yarnball hand-soccer (technically banned by her father lol) UNO, or board games or games she’s learned from friends. We rarely watch TV but occassionally the Disney Channel or Nick comes on. There’s no DS allowed during certain hours. And usually, she’s okay with that.
And in summer, there’s a lot of outdoor time. Soccer, playground, games, again, that she has made up (with constantly morphing rules…). She runs me ragged sometimes, but it’s always fun. She’s always fun. She’s hilarious, too. And she’s a really goodhearted kid.
I think of her life sometimes, of which these Thursday nights are a microcosm – her life with, sure, it’s ups and downs, complexities and challenges, but overall she’s healthy, safe, loved, and thriving. And I am thankful. And I am amazed when I consider her potential and all she has to offer the world – now at age ten, let alone in adulthood.
And from time to time as I think of this, I think how every kid deserves the same, but so many don’t get it: the health, the security, the family, the love, the schooling, the culture, the extras, the opportunities.
It’s The International Day of The Woman today. It’s worth pausing and thinking how we can help both girls– the women of future – and the women who are raising them today — all get the life they deserve so they can give what they’ve got in them to give.
Thanks for reading,