The Stick, the Branch and the Piñata

There is a rivalry between passion and patience.  The things we want most take the longest to arrive.  One could spend a lifetime trying to acquire the balance between the two, being passionate about what is most important to you and pursuing it with everything you have while developing the endurance to stand the tests that time will surely throw your way.

It seems my daughter has perfected this balance at a young age.  

It all began a year ago.  After her fourth birthday the summer schedule quickly came to a close and school was underway.  The crisp air of autumn gave way to the cold winds of winter.  Somehow during those solitary months she acquired a stick and marked it as the one that would be perfect for her next birthday.  For the next six months this stick could be found either by the back door or lying somewhere in our yard.  Her watchful eye protected it from becoming kindling on more than one occasion, and eventually it had a special place behind the house where it stayed until July.

The dead of winter sprung into new life, evidenced by the tiny green buds that popped out from dark branches. After arriving home from work one day, she dragged me to the apple tree in the “way back”.  “Do you want to see the branch for my piñata?” I ducked to walk under the scraggly branches and looked up at the thin Charlie Brown type of branch at the end of her little finger.  “OK. Good to know”, I thought.  A moment later I had completely forgotten which branch she had pointed to.

As more months passed and the limbs of that old apple tree filled with leaves and round green apples that were no good for eating, her next birthday loomed close.  The stick had aged comfortably in the shade of our house.  We finally bought the Mario piñata of her dreams. 

Now, Summer was here and the guests had arrived.  All the family had gathered around the apple tree to watch.  To anyone else it would have looked like just another typical birthday party piñata smashing.  They may have wondered why it hung on such a low branch, and under such an overgrown tree.  They may have questioned the ability of the stick in her hands to adequately burst open the vault of candy goodness. They may have worried the first whack would send bits of wood flying.  They would have been mostly right.  I doubt anyone was even thinking that much about it.

But Erica and I knew this moment had been a year in the works.  She stood under the tree gripping the stick with excitement.  The Mario piñata dangled in front of her, perched on the exact spot she had shown me so long ago.  She had no problem waiting for this to come.  And what I know from my years of experience is, when that moment finally comes, when that thing you have been passionate about and pursuing is finally realized…it is so worth the wait!

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