The fence is much older now. In fact, no stain has been applied since that punishment long ago. My daughter could probably fill in the gaps that my mind has chosen to file away. But I vividly recall walking out to the garden and quietly watching her paint.
I wondered what was inside her heart and mind as she worked silently by herself.
I grabbed a brush and painted beside her for awhile. Somehow looking at the fence and having something to do with our hands allowed us to talk about life unlike we could do across a table from one another.
I also noticed my hearing was better when I painted. Why couldn’t I hear her words when I looked into her eyes? I knew why. When I sat across the table I became the prosecutor and my daughter was on the defense. When had I let our lives become a courtroom?
The old fence has been my faithful reminder that the best conversations come from taking the time to work together—on the same side, and then you can listen not with just your ears, but also with your heart.