Monthly Archives: March 2010

Conversations with an Almost Four-Year-Old

Sophia – “Daddy, I wish all the squirrels would just die.”

Tim (blinking incredulously) – “Um, why, Honey?”

Sophia – “Because then they would quit eating all the pecans off of our trees. I love pecans!”

Tim – “Well, perhaps instead of wishing they would ‘just die’ we could wish that they would ‘just relocate’?”

I love his diplomacy. I would have used this as an opening into a conversation about “Why We Don’t Wish Ill on People or Animals”, or “It’s Really Rude to Wish Death on Anyone”. I was so relieved that Tim handled this one. Of course, I was paid back tenfold when I suddenly found myself in a conversation about where babies come from. I wasn’t expecting THAT talk for another three years or so. I always knew I would try to be as honest as possible but she really threw me one out of left field. We were driving in the car and the following exchange unfolded;

Sophia – “Mommy, could you tell me all about this great big world since you were here first? I want to know everything. But wait, how did I get in your belly?”

Me – “Well, God put you there.”

Sophia – “How did she get me in there? ” (yes, “she”, and I’m not addressing that because I love it!)

Me – “Well, you grew from a little seed. Okay, actually it’s an egg and all women have them. They are so tiny you can’t even see them. You grew like a little sprout from that egg.”

Sophia – “How did she make sure the egg stayed in? Did she put it on your mouth and smash it on your tongue so it wouldn’t roll out?”

Me – “Um, not quite, well, Daddy, um, let’s see. Okay, your daddy and I got married and, ….hey, you wanna get some ice cream?”

I narrowly avoided that one but after almost four years with this little girl I know the conversation is far from over. While I am still at a loss to find a creative, nearly-accurate-but-slightly-altered way of explaining Tim’s role in her creation I am grateful to have a little more time to think about it.




The Power of a Smile

There’s so much going on in my head that I’ve had trouble plucking a thought, like a string, from the tangle and developing it. The subject I’ve been the most preoccupied with lately is spirit. I recently had a crisis of faith and have had a hard time coming to terms with it. I realize that until I can resolve the issue I need to set my spirit free to grow on its own. I believe this is happening and while it’s exhilarating it is also a little scary. I’ll let you know how it goes. Anyway, I think this little story has to do with spirit.

About a week ago I stopped into a busy fast food place with the kids to kill some time. I got a cup of coffee for me and a biscuit for the kids and waited patiently while the frazzled staff struggled to fill the orders. The woman taking orders behind the counter was slow but efficient. I got my order and asked her for some honey. She handed it over wordlessly, no reply to my “thank you”, and no change in her expression. I remember wondering what she looked like when she smiled. She seemed like she would have a radiant smile, the kind that blooms across a face, lighting it up, making you smile right back even if you don’t want to.

I thought about that woman a few days ago and still wondered about her smile. “Geez,” I thought, “She sure would have come across a lot better if she’d just pasted on a smile or made small talk or something. A little friendliness toward the customer can go a long way.”  Then I thought about what I had just thought (see how I can drive myself mad?).  I had put the onus on her. Yes, she could probably smile and make the experience a bit better for the customer, but where was my culpability? I noticed that she did a great job. Did I thank her specifically? No. Did I take the split second it would have taken to acknowledge her efficiency and thoroughness? Nope. I was just annoyed that she didn’t return my smile.

In my quest to grow my spirit, surround myself  with peace, and to radiate love, the least I can do is find a small kindness for someone. I had been focused on thinking that she should smile when I should have focused on giving her something to smile about. Smiling at someone is a wonderful way to make them happy,  but a little compliment or acknowledgment of hard work can make someone’s day. It can be really hard to tell a stranger, “Hey, you do a great job!” without feeling awkward or goofy, but I am going to do it a lot more now. I figure what the hell, I have a lot of experience feeling awkward and goofy so at least I can try to cheer someone up and make them smile.