Elephant In the Room

Children make things acceptable.  I met a little girl, probably about six years old, yesterday at Target.  The weather in Texas was a rare 40 degrees and it had everyone in the holiday shopping spirit and so all of Austin was out at Target shopping for Christmas lights and gifts.

Like everyone else, my daughter and I were full of holiday excitement, and had decided a peppermint mocha and a peppermint hot chocolate were the perfect accompaniments to our mood and stopped in at the Starbucks inside our local Target.  As we waited in line to order our minty-sugary-caffeinated-goodness, I felt a tap on my arm.  The conversation went like this:

Little girl (standing there with her grandmother): “Hi…”

Little girl’s grandmother, smiling hopefully, eyebrows arched: “my granddaughter was wondering how your chair moves from one place to another.”

Me, nodding and smiling to try to bring her in closer: “have you ever played a video game?”

Little girl, nodding enthusiastically: “yes, lots and lots!”  B-I-N-G-O.

Me: “well, you see this joystick right here?  It works just like a video game.  You move it in the direction you want to go.”

Little girl: ”and you get to take it home with you at night?”

Me: “yes, everywhere I go.”

Little girl: “oh good…did you know I got a Webkinz yesterday?”

And just like that, it was over.  In a span of about 15 seconds, she acknowledged the elephant that’s always in the room with me, she showed interest and concern and then she accepted it.  It was ok with her.

Interestingly enough, this 6 year old’s questions and interest made me feel the tiniest bit less lonely.  Someone cared.  Someone asked.  Someone was ok with it.  And, I don’t mind talking about it.  It’s part of who I am and she noticed.

Such simple things to do, and I took a lesson.  So often, differences build a wall between us, but she built a bridge.

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