A turning-point moment came Monday night.
It involved my daughter, Katie, who has been filling our life with joy for more than 13 years.
When Katie became an avid reader as a wisp of a child, I announced one of my goals in life was to read a Harry Potter novel before she did.
Naturally, I got sidetracked. As a homeowner and occasional maintenance man/groundskeeper, I started spending more of my available reading hours focusing on repair manuals and how-to books. Instead of seeking out the wisdom of Mark Twain, I found myself contemplating the insights of Norm Abram from “This Old House.”
Katie eventually caught wind of my goal and often threatened to beat me in the Harry Potter reading race. I scoffed. She laughed. Then from time to time she would start reading a Harry Potter book — simultaneously with a host of other things. At least seven of those lengthy novels would invariably fall by the wayside, unfinished.
Then came Monday night. Everyone else had gone to bed when I retired to my recliner downstairs for some quiet time. Waiting on the seat was a note from Katie with a copy of the 734-page paperback version of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”
The note said: “Done. Eat your heart out, Dad.”
Dang! She got me.
I sat down on the chair with the note and reflected on how my little girl was growing up so fast. It seems like yesterday she was a pre-schooler joyfully catching bugs while exploring the backyard. Now she's a worldly eighth grader with a keen sense of humor and strong opinions about injustices happening in society.
I was struck by how fast time is rushing by and how change keeps occurring at a furious pace.
For instance, in just the last couple of months, several of my contemporaries have headed off into retirement, including my good buddy Mark, who started in the newspaper business around the same time I did in the mid-1970s. On Oct. 29 he sent a final email as he departed his newspaper for the last time, declaring: “The end is here. I am going to grab my golf clubs, a beer mug and my fishing gear and head off to a new part of my life.”
News of more changes comes in the Christmas cards that arrive daily. The faces in snapshots keep getting older. Several aging relatives have grown ill or died. The flower girl from our wedding is getting married next year. A nephew who played football for Michigan now watches his own son play for Air Force.
On and on life goes. But with it comes the pleasant satisfaction of watching the developments as they take shape — turning like the pages of a good book.