It's hard to believe but school starts in just a couple of days.
We have milestones this year: Jaime starts first grade, Michele starts kindergarten, Jackson starts pre-K and Chloe starts her last year in elementary school. Where, oh where, has all the time gone? Wasn't it just yesterday that we first learned Chloe was joining our family?
Now she's so big -- taking care of her siblings, practicing her piano, obsessing about horses and wanting to become an astronaut. And if that's not scary enough, you should just hear what she knows about gravity, planetary orbits, asteroids, scholarships to MIT and admission to the Air Force Academy. "I know all about the test scores. Did you hear, I'm in the 99th percentile in science?"
Yeah, I'm proud of her. But a little scared too.
I remember when she was just a little tyke and I took her to the Cosmosphere at Hutchinson and showed her the spacesuits of the Apollo astronauts and told her about the effort to put a man on the moon. I thought I was sharing history. She thought I was introducing a career path. (Does that make it my fault?)
It wasn't that trip but one a couple of years later (she kept begging to go back, is that a clue?) that led to "I'm going to be an astronaut. When is the next space camp? Did you see the poster about space camp?"
You have to be fifth grade or above to go to space camp. I thought by fifth grade, she'd be on to something else. Yeah, she is. Like Discovery channel, Planet Earth, The Mars Rover, The Cassini Project. And how Space Camp can get her there. And now, she's fifth grade.
Here is the scariest thing of all: In first grade I told my Dad, "I'm going to work for newspapers and magazines and write stories from lots of places and just write and write and write. I'm always going to write."
By the end of high school, he was a little panicked. "Honey, maybe you should think of a career closer to home and being a mom, like teaching or nursing."
"No, dad, I want a career with adventure and excitement and things I'm the first to find and the first to know and the first to tell."
And so I went for it.
Most likely, she will too. And I will know just how my dad felt.