I am far from a perfect parent. I show my daughter my strength and also my weakness.
I love children. If I had more patience, I would have spent more time with as many of them as possible.
A little boy occasionally comes into the store where I work in the café. I believe he comes with his grandmother and by the time they reach me, she seems exasperated. And I know why.
They have their shopping bags. They are ready to leave. She offers him a pizza.
He’s about four and he never stops talking. And I try my best not to interrupt him because my manners need to demonstrate how people listen to and engage others. Then the questions start.
It’s Easter week. The store is busy. At this particular moment, I’m momentarily caught up and there’s no one waiting.
So I answer his questions. These aren’t dumb questions, these are “how things work” questions. What is that light? What’s that sound? I explain everything he asks about, even though his grandparent clearly wants to go. But he’s processing, he’s learning, and maybe someday he’ll be a scientist or an engineer because of this interest in how things work.
But now, my daughter.
I frequently help my friend Nancy with her writing career. Nancy is an essayist and poet. She’s also blind so sending an email, managing submissions and finding writing markets can be challenging with a sighted person at a computer. Her diligence and prolific work habits inspire me so the relationship is mutually beneficial.
My daughter is on spring break so she joined Nancy and I at Dunkin Donuts where I sipped iced coffee flavored with pistachio and Nancy drank her vanilla chai. And we even had donuts!
When we were done working, my daughter piped in.
She thought it would be interesting if we all wrote flash nonfiction about the morning to see the different perspectives. Nancy and I were thrilled. We set word counts and pledged to write and submit this piece.
Daughter and I did ours. We love them. Can’t wait to see what Nancy does.
Made possible because we listened to a child.