“I am a rock. I am an island.” – Simon & Garfunkel
Last weekend, I took Maddie to a classmate’s 6th birthday party at one of those indoor playgrounds where they make the children get active and compete with each other in order to celebrate another year of life. We were late, but she took the blue mesh tank top handed her, kicked off her shoes, and tried to join in the games.
The first one was a relay. But when everyone else ran to get through the course quickly, she went through very slowly and deliberately, as if precision trumped speed: the exact opposite of the objective at the time.
Then they played something resembling volleyball with a bunch of balloon-looking spheres.
But instead of knocking the spheres over the net, she started cleaning up the errant ones.
And when the adult leader declared that it was time for SOCCER! to cheers from all but one in the gallery, she watched from the sideline.
I started texting Pretty Bride:
Me: We have got to get Maddie in some kind of sport or something. She doesn’t know what to do with balls!
Her: I thought that was what you wanted…
Me: I don’t want her to be stuck on the path toward becoming “that quiet artsy chick!”
But then, instead of standing to herself, she found the smallest child there–one who was barely able to walk unassisted–and started trying to help her play the different games. She even helped her up when the child fell a few times, holding her up a little longer than what was necessary, to comfort her with a hug. Maddie even sat with her when they had pizza.
So, before we left, I asked her about her experience.
Me: So, did you have fun?
Her: Sure! And there was one girl who was 2, like Owen used to be when he was 2, and I helped her, like I help Owen!
Maybe this little nonathletic creature who draws and paints and nurtures her younger siblings is going to be okay after all. Who needs high fives, roaring crowds, and athletic scholarships anyway?
It’s funny – I’ve been through similar stuff with Bunker Monkey. Because of his Asperger’s, he doesn’t always fit into what the other kids are doing (we’re seeing this with Cub Scouts now), and I worry that he’s going to be excluded. But then he finds some way – whether it’s an activity by himself, or finding another similar soul – to enjoy himself, and I relax a little.
Funny how our kids can show us they know what they’re doing, and that they’ll be ok after all. (But I’ll still worry from time to time, cuz that’s what parents do!)
@Trish, That’s encouraging! Glad your little one is finding his way, too.
My 8-yr-old daughter is like your daughter. I’m okay with her personality. Mainly because she doesn’t seem to have the bitchy, “I’m gonna cut you because you have an iCarly backpack not something cool like all black to go with my shoes” kind of attitude.
Who knows, maybe she’ll design the next best thing instead? Yea, this is what I keep telling myself…..:)
@Gorilla, I just don’t want her living at home at 25.
That’s one awfully sweet little girl you’ve got there. I’ll take sweetness over trophies any day of the week.
@2Busy, I reckon you’re right (this time).
We place a lot of emphasis on children respecting their parents. It’s refreshing to see a parent respecting his child, too. Kids are people, and ain’t it grand?
@HH, It’s odd to think of her as her own little person, but I suppose you’re right!
Getting there late might’ve had something to do with it, too. Gilda hates being late, and probably would’ve acted the same way.
Still – being artsy is cool as hell, Muskrat. So is being quiet, sweet, helpful and kind. Plus, balloon volleyball? Lame. 🙂
@SLaw, Balloon volleyball is, in fact, lame.
That is stuff you can’t teach. Somewhere along the line, you did something right.
@Always Home, Well, my bride did something right, anyway.
Maddie is super lucky to have parents who notice AND appreciate her non-athletic nurturingism.
Aww, you and your daughter story is really cute. She is such a sweet child. Your lucky to have her. 🙂