Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Are they dancing near the ocean?

Children, especially very young children, always seem to believe I am about their own age--just a slightly taller child with interesting reading glasses poised on her nose. This suits me fine, because at heart I have great sympathy for the littlest ones, and tend to see the universe very much through their eyes.

True, I have in my decades of life learned a little bit of decorum. I don't skip nearly as much as I did a couple decades back, and that isn't only because my left knee has grown annoyingly fragile and my dogs get disconcerted when their human moves erratically. I refrain from blurting out all the questions in my heart--though I do still blurt one or two, and have very little fear of seeming stupid or ignorant--if you don't ask questions when are you going to get answers?

So, when the sprite with the long yellow hair and bright blue eyes, perched happily on her dad's shoulders in the grocery store line caught my eye, I smiled back at her. And she chirped up, "what's your name?" I told her, and she told me hers. And then she asked "where's your mommy?"

Her mommy was in front of her in the line, and I glanced at her, and at the stalwart young father who was acting as a nice horse for his little girl. The direct answer would have been something along the lines of "dead". And indeed, dead nearly 10 years. But that didn't seem like the sort of answer to give the little girl--I mean, did she even have a concept of death yet? Was I the one who was going to introduce it to her? I said "oh, my mom isn't around any more", which, as I said it, was bad enough. I could see my little blonde friend pondering.

"Why isn't she here? Where is she?" she asked, reasonably enough. Remember, kids do view me as one of them, and this little one is never, probably, far from her parents--she was wondering why I was wandering around without the help of a mom, I am certain. Before I could answer she said "well, if your mommy isn't here, where is your daddy?"

I gave the listening mother a glance that said "help!" because...well, my father has also been dead a decade now. She stepped in and said "I think her daddy is with her mommy" I smiled, "yes, that's right". The little girl--her father later told me she is only two and a half--asked "Where are they?"

The mother then said "oh, maybe they are together at the beach. Maybe they are dancing." Seems the child loves to dance. I smiled. "I'm sure they are having fun" I said.

The girl stared at me a moment, and then she said something I've carried with me a few days. She said "It's okay. If you need a mommy and daddy you can have mine. I share a lot!"

I smiled, though tears had sprung to my eyes, and thanked her for her very kind offer.


Blogger marlyat2 said...

Dancing beyond the great sea of time....


Interesting glasses. Next trip to NYC, must get some.

9:38 AM, September 19, 2007  
Blogger am said...

Thanks so much for telling this story and reminding me about the kindness that a two and a half year old child can express.

4:54 PM, September 19, 2007  
Blogger LiVEwiRe said...

What a dear, sweet child! I like to think of how the children might view you; that's such a great thought!

5:59 PM, September 19, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

You must have a special something about you but I am not so sure it is the specks.

Telling of the story is special.

2:17 PM, September 20, 2007  
Blogger Lori Witzel said...


What a generous sharing -- both the little girl's, and yours.

12:25 PM, September 22, 2007  
Blogger David said...

Small children can ask the most unexpected questions! I sometimes respond to little children by trying to confound them. If I had been asked where my parents were, I probably would have made up a fantastic story. I might have said, "They are here in my pocket." The child would undoubtedly have responded with disbelief, "Parents can't fit in a pocket!" "Well, my parents are very small", and I would indicate a size of two inches with my fingers. No doubt the exchange would go a few more rounds, during which I might grow the strange tale of the mini parents even taller. ;)

Well, both my parents are still alive, so joking about them is no big deal to me. After my parents pass away, I might be inclined to take things more seriously, as you did.

What a generous offer from the little girl to share her parents with you!

11:22 AM, September 26, 2007  
Blogger Paul Encimer said...

just dropping by for a visit and to see how you are these days

5:51 PM, September 27, 2007  
Blogger Jan said...

What a lovely story!
Children are so fabulously blunt, aren't they?
They say what they mean and they mean what they say.
Lots of grownups should take heed, shouldn't they?!

10:20 AM, September 29, 2007  
Blogger MellowOranges said...

That made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.. it's been a while since I've visited your site but I'm never dissapointed.

Hope all is keeping well (I just realised today it's been over a year since I wrote, I guess I've been a little busy, but things are moving along well).

1:01 PM, October 08, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is so sweet. And sad too. I guess I would have said they live somewhere else.

4:48 PM, October 09, 2007  
Anonymous dr O2 said...

well I envy you a bit coz my youngest cousine thinks he is slightly older than me at times!!! ;-)
Sense of sharing at that age is rare not to mention it is even harder to find among older people.
sorry I am not a blogworld regular these days. Will make a come back someday :-D

8:09 AM, October 14, 2007  
Blogger blog queen said...

I love the thought of deceased ones dancing near the ocean. My father's been gone now 44 years. I envision him sometimes walking in the woods as he loved to do or perhaps fishing.

I too seem to attract young children. They always meet my eyes in a store. My husband thinks this is most remarkable. There are some that seem to be old souls in small bodies.

I'm sorry I haven't been around either in blog world. Am trying to catch up.


7:29 PM, October 23, 2007  

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