Sunday, July 13, 2008

Picayune Poise

My daughter and I were out on our own today while my wife was at a church meeting. We went to Whole Foods to get a snack and then afterwards sat at some tables outside of the store to eat and hang out. While we were there, just as my daughter was finishing up, a couple biked up to the store. Since there wasn't anywhere to secure their bikes (or perhaps they didn't have locks, I don't know) the wife stayed out with the bikes, one table over, while the husband went into the store to shop. My daughter immediately wanted to go over and say hello. I made her wait until she was done eating and drinking and I had wiped off her face which was covered with cherry juice and chocolate milk. My daughter then walked right over to this complete stranger and said hello. They proceeded to have a 10 minute conversation - I kid you not. And my daughter carried her half of it, too. During that ten minutes she managed to clearly convey her name and age, that I was her daddy, that we had had lunch with friends at a nearby restaurant, that her mom was in a meeting and had the car, that she had a purple umbrella for when it rained and that we were just there for a chocolate snack. What else she might have said I didn't hear, but honestly, what else is there?

She began the conversation standing up at the other end of the bench from the woman she was talking to, with her hands in her pockets - you know the traditional shy, scuff the ground with the toe of your shoe kind of pose. Eventually she climbed up onto the bench with the woman with her feet flat against each other, leaning against the table and spent the rest of the time up there in various positions, but always at her ease. She spoke with great confidence and poise, clearly and convincingly, nodding her head for punctuation when it was needed. She listened to the lady's questions, considered them and answered appropiately, as well as listening intently when the lady spoke about herself and her bike ride. Never disconcerted, never at a loss for words, completely in her element.

Now, as someone who is just about as far towards the introverted end of the spectrum as it is possible to get, this amazes me! I clam up when I even think about approaching a complete stranger. My heart starts beating faster, my brain deserts me for more temperate climes, I sweat. When I am forced into such a situation I usually spend the whole time listening while they talk – even generally quiet people have been known to be verbose around me. I sat there watching her with great wonder and pride, beaming from ear to ear. Seeing her skill and confidence and grace now, I can only imagine what a force to be reckoned with she will be when she is all grown up.

Oh, did I mention, my daughter is only 3 ½?

Eventually the husband returned and as they were leaving the wife stopped by my table and said:

“I told her that the next time it rains I will be thinking of her and her purple umbrella. I wish I had a purple umbrella.”

Obviously my daughter had made a lasting impression on her, too. In only ten minutes! I never ceased to be amazed at the marvel that is my daughter.

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