I knew I was on borrowed time with my daughter Addy.
For months and years, we’ve taken walks together. Well, she’s in her stroller and I am pushing her. Either way, it is good, quality time together.
For her, she gets to see the world in comfort and take in everything around her. For me, I get 3-plus miles of exercise and a chance to see that world through my daughter’s eyes.
Everything from the colors of fall to the passing cars is fodder for a young child. Mere observations become discussion points, peppered with questions that I either answer or deflect.
Recently, though, she’s asked to get out and “walk with her feet,” especially at the end of our power walks.
I knew the day was coming. And I encourage that from her. Of course, it takes some planning on my part, namely remembering that she can’t go barefoot any longer and trying to time the walk so she gets tired, but not overwhelmed.
In one of our final “seated” walks we took last week, I was taking note of what we passed in downtown Lee’s Summit along the way. All the things that catch her attention and create a conversation point between dad and daughter.
We usually start around Third and Market streets, and, of course, she immediately points out the Do Drop Inn. Not because she’s a regular, but she knows Sue usually has a smile and sometimes a treat for her if she’s lucky enough to see her.
The wedding store at Third and SW Main is another popular landmark for Addy as she reacts to each dress in the window and always, for whatever reason, notices a crack in the glass.
The railroad track is endless fun, of course, for a 3-year-old as well. A train is always coming, going or, in her mind, just around the corner. And no matter where we are on our walks from Market to Third to Miller to Green, she is always ready for the next one.
Retail areas on Third, SE Main and Douglas gather her attention, too, with whatever is in the window or those coming and going. Whatever they are carrying or talking about or “doing” seems to interest Addy.
I resist the urge to tell her she’s nosy, because, well, she’s 3.
Douglas Street has the Journal; Miller Street her favorite Little Free Library in front of the home of Dave and Kelly Eames. She knows where “Mrs. Merrell” lives and always enjoys the trees around the corner that are decorated with birds, faces and a bear.
Fortunately, Cookie Jar Bakery is closed by the time we walk by, something that Addy never misses a chance to point out to me.
As we round the corner by LMS Wine, she always remembers that, at some point long ago, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” was blaring from the speakers. Probably on a Wednesday evening. She proceeds to sing a few bars before we get to the Hartley Block fountain, where her attention immediately diverts to the “waterfall.”
Around that time, though, she wants to “walk with her feet.” I just can’t say no and wouldn’t dream of discouraging her.
Soon, we will be power walking, running, playing basketball or something else.
And I know that as special as that is, I will miss those days of pushing her in the stroller and taking in downtown through her eyes.
John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lees Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.