We are in Ottawa visiting with the Mike, Marissa, Sadie and the Rube-ster. We had about a half hour of quiet in the hotel room before SOUND arrived. Ruby was in the best of moods. It was like she had an agenda, give us each a hug, jump on the bed, run around the room, jump on the bed, change into new swimming suit, model new swimming suit, jump on the bed. You get tired watching these youngsters.
After swimming was done, on a break between jumping on the bed and eating pizza. She came over to me and put her hands up to be picked up. She's a big girl now, almost 4, but she still likes to be cradled and talked to. I asked her how she was doing and she said that she was having fun. She still lives in the moment (something I've been striving to do for 53 years) so we simply talked about the moment.
She quieted for a second and then she said, 'I saw that guy.'
This was new, a whole different direction. 'What guy was that Ruby.'
She said, 'In the store with my mom.'
Her sentences are wonderfully long now yet still frustratingly short.
'You saw him when you were in the store with your mom.'
'Yes,' she said.
'And?' I said.
'He sits in a chair like yours.'
'Is he nice?' I said hopefully.
'He smiles when he talks,' she said.
'What does he say to you,' I asked.
'He doesn't talk to me, he's a stranger, silly.'
'But he smiles when he talks.'
Then she wanted down.
I woke this morning thinking about this little conversation. About how Ruby is looking at the world trying to find patterns and ways of understanding what she sees. She knows someone who is in a wheelchair. She's seen someone else. Of course she'd be wondering ... and blessed be, it's someone who smiles when he talks.
On my way to the bathroom, I stopped and looked in the mirror. I tried to smile when I talked and discovered that when I did so, I looked like I had cerebral palsy. That's out for me. I've decided to try to put my smile in my words. Whatever it takes, because little one's are watching and learning. Little ones can separate the sweet from the chafe. There is no question which category is my aim.