In an hour of walking, my daughter and I talked about life, we talked about her classes, about a friend of hers who is being bullied.
In an hour of walking, I talked with my daughter about the meaning of “the b-word” and how I didn’t think it was right that we had a bad word about women and for women and using something feminine. And my daughter, who had wanted to call the rampaging big-truck driver the “b-word,” suddenly apologized and expressed shame.
I told her not to feel ashamed. To raise her head and look at the world from a different perspective. To see that she should be proud of being a young woman and not allow other people to use words that are derogatory against women or to fuss at a woman for being angry.
In an hour of walking, my daughter and I looked at houses and debated the merits of moving and talked about what house we would want and why we would want that particular house. I chose the house with the wrap-around-porch and gazebo in the backyard.
My daughter chose the house with the tower room on the second floor.
We both agreed that we liked our home, though, and that moving wasn’t as interesting as it might seem to be.
In an hour of walking, my daughter alternated between complaining about the speed at which we were moving to how every muscle and bone in her body was aching to how her feet hurt. And then, despite all those debilitating pains, my daughter also kept to a fast pace and never mentioned anything that was causing her discomfort.
In an hour of walking, I navigated the halls of my daughter’s life. We chatted about make-up and why I allowed her to wear lip gloss to school that day (because it didn’t show up on her lips). We talked about what we liked to write and what she didn’t feel comfortable writing (poetry and nonfiction). We talked about the limits of our lives and how we wanted to break free of those boundaries and try new things..or how we wanted to exult in the joy of the comfort of fuzzy, worn pajamas and warm socks and the comforts of what we have always known.
In an hour of walking, my daughter and I talked about our upcoming trip to Disney World. We discussed meeting princesses and buying collectibles and I learned that my daughter really loves the Cheshire Cat. She explained that she identified with him, that she saw herself as “mischievous” (her word, not mine) and “cool.” She eagerly talked about seeing Mickey Mouse, about seeing the grand spectacle that is Disney World. About curling up in our beds in the hotel room and sleeping away the night and living in a world of suspended reality and heavy dreams.
In an hour of walking, I didn’t count my steps or my calories burned. I didn’t do much more than put one foot in front of the other and huff and puff my way up hills and along winding roads that led us through the neighborhood across the street.
But in the process of walking that one hour with my daughter, I felt like I had done something right, something good. For her. For me. For both of us.
And that was an hour well-spent.