Please forgive an opening cliché
for this month’s Finish Line, but I couldn’t think of a better way to say it – where does the time go? Ashley, our youngest granddaughter, has just become the family’s newest teenager.
Her cousin Andie is in the midst of her 19th year, so we have one entering and one emerging from what is certainly the most daunting passage of growing up.
It seems like it was just yesterday (oops, did it again) that she was toddling around, exploring everything and discovering the wonders of life as a 2 year old to the delight of four generations of our family.
To celebrate her 13th birthday, my wife and I put together a movie of her adventures that reminds us of the constant joy she has brought to all of us who have gotten to share them every day along the way.
We’ve done the same thing to mark milestones for others, and each runs about 30 minutes long. Most would agree that’s a tolerable timeframe for home movies.
This one takes three times that long,
and we’ve left out a bunch of photos and videos in order to keep it that “compressed.” Beyond birthdays, Christmases, annual holiday celebrations and such, it seems Ashley has been busier than most others.
Especially when it comes to travel. We’ve managed annual trips to somewhere, sometimes more than one during a given year. No other family member has been to so many places in such a short time span.
From the depths of the Grand Canyon to the highest office in the land on the day she visited President Bush in the Oval Office, Ashley has journeyed across the country from coast to coast.
Our visit to New York City a year ago wowed her significantly as you might imagine. It’s where we captured the photo you see here.
A recent multi-state, 10-day trip across the South on what we called the Family Heritage Tour was our most recent experience. The objective was to introduce her to the people and places that shaped our history and formed the family tree with ever so many branches.
Next month, she will get to meet the citizens of Arlington’s sister city in Bad Koenigshofen Germany when members of my family join them for the 1275th anniversary of the founding of their very special Bavarian town.
In between all that traveling,
she managed to engage herself in years of softball, horse riding, theater camps, now playing the flute in the Boles Junior High Band, and her greatest love – dancing. She’s been a Miss Persis pupil since she was 3 and currently is performing with Dance Theater Arlington.
And, of course, she’s a major Texas Rangers baseball fan – she has been attending their games since she learned to walk. “Go Rangers!” was among the first words she learned.
Now that she is well into the transition from child to young woman, the years immediately ahead offer the challenge of navigating through them in a society that presents equal measures of unparalleled opportunity and risks. Our world has changed rapidly during her lifetime, and it only seems to accelerate in the era of electronics, the Internet, and social media that adds exponentially to the complexity of the myriad things that young people are now expected to deal with.
As a family who adores her
and will be there for her, we all draw some peace about her ability to reconcile influences in her life, to find good friends, and to succeed academically.
Ashley has accepted Christ as her savior and told the world by being baptized into a faith that surpasses all understanding.
With that solid footing, the future is as promising as it could be, and we can’t wait to see it all unfold in the years just ahead.
Should we expect them to pass as quickly as those now behind? Probably so. Richard Greene served as Arlington’s mayor from 1987-1997 and currently teaches in the University of Texas Arlington’s graduate program in the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs.