I often wonder what my children will grow to achieve. We always read stories about brilliant scientists and artists and I always think, “But who were their parents? Did their mother know this great accomplishment was in them? Did their father see it first? Before anyone else in the world, did they witness this tremor of green life and nurture it into fruition in unheralded ways?”

I was entertaining these delusions of grandeur the other day, while laying on the couch. I was considering all of the education options we have in front of us for Clara to pursue this coming fall. Piano? Dance? Biological science? Mathematics? Where do we start? What brilliance lays hidden in this tiny patch of shiny clay needing only the perfect tool to extract?

While I was thinking about these things I was startled back to reality by a tumbling crash behind me. Clara had apparently been attempting to climb a book case full of odds and ends and she had nearly pulled the whole contraption down on her head. Miraculously nothing had fallen. A collapsed picture of Gideon had to be replaced, and the Glass vase of potpourri and the wooden figurine of the married couple needed to be stood back up and rearranged with a sigh.

Everyone was relieved that nothing worse had happened. Andrea and I firmly explained to Clara how dangerous and silly it had been to try to climb the book case. There was no point to. There was nothing on top for her to find, and it would just fall over. She nodded understanding, and shared our relief that nothing had fallen. “Yeah, that was close. I’m sorry.” she agreed.

Then she looked from us back to the bookcase. Then she turned to look a her small rocking chair across the room. She had an idea. I could see it bubbling up in her mind. I was intrigued. Was this the moment of recognition? Was I going to see the spark of brilliance as it was first lit? She walked across the room, grabbed the chair, and positioned it a few feet away from the book case. She glanced at the book case, then back to the chair, and adjusted its position. Then she carefully climbed onto the seat and extended her arms into the air.

“Wait.” I was perplexed about what was happening, “Clara? What are you-“

But before I could finish talking she lunged off of the chair and grappled at the bookcase. Her body ricocheting off of it like a large bird hitting a window and fell backwards on top of her chair flapping her arms to stay aloft. The book case slammed into the wall and then rocked forward, rattling violently and sending a hail of knick-knacks to pepper the floor around her as she scrambled away.

I helped my daughter to her feet, and then bent to pick up the debris. I lifted the wooden married couple and found that the happy father had lost a leg. He was now crippled by his own children. At least the carnage was poetic. As I replaced the rest of the pieces, and glared at my daughter, I loosened my grip on my dreams of brilliance. Maybe we need to start smaller. We will get to brilliance later. First we have to get the children to the part where they stop training to be stuntmen while jumping off of living room furniture.