Monday Musings - Once I was 7 Years Old

“Did you just come out of the pool?” asked the blue-eyed, freckled face peering up at me.

“Yes, I did!” I replied with a smile.

“Was the water warm? Cuz I really don’t like cold water,” she inquired with a very serious look on her face.

And so it began, my little conversation with a little girl who was so full of wonder and excitement, disappointment, and then hope. It all started with her noticing me and asking a random question.

We live in an interesting world, where we mistakenly believe we are all connected – and that with the click of a button or quick dial on a cell phone, we can instantly feel relief about our questions or our fears. But nothing replaces the face to face encounters that can turn our head space around, and sometimes that happens with a stranger, no matter how small.

Our conversation continued and she enlightened me about her achievements in swimming, the greatest of which was that she was one level above her older brother. The pride she exhibited was soon to be eclipsed with an even greater triumph in her mind: “Today is my birthday. I used to be 6, but now I AM 7!!” she exclaimed with glee as she spun around in a circle.

Attempting to enter her joy-filled world, I replied, “That’s awesome!! Are you going to have a party?”

As soon as these words left my mouth, I instantly thought of reeling them back in, but, like a large mouth bass struggling on the end of my fishing line, my words splashed into the water. The ripple effect of my words, turned the sea of our conversation to a standstill. Her eyes dropped, she sighed, and her silence drowned out the cacophony of the steaming showers and parading people around us. I had made a huge assumption, largely based on today’s culture, where children have parties to celebrate every achievement great and small, with growing guest lists that mimic a wedding feast.

I quickly tried to recover by bending down on her level and asking if she was going to have supper with her favourite food. Her face lit back up and she said with enthusiasm: “Yes!! I'm having pizza!!” This was clearly her delight as she went to great lengths to explain to me what a good pizza MUST have on it. And that definitely included pineapple, which we both agreed, was absolutely the most essential ingredient. Except…her dad “always forgets” the pineapple. Every time. The silence threatened to invade the locker room again.

But today would be different. For this Poseidon princess of the pool climbed atop the bench in front of me and exclaimed: “I will go with my dad to the pizza place and make sure they put pineapple on it!” And then she skipped away…

Wisdom from a strawberry blonde seven year old: our happiness is not dependent on other people. Even though we don’t get the party that everyone else seems to enjoy, or we’re repeatedly let down by those who are supposed to love us, we have a choice in how we react. Sometimes we take matters into our own hands and make things happen that we know will make us feel better. And we can always celebrate our inner accomplishments, even if no one is watching. Or sometimes we can start a random conversation and make a friend so we won’t be lonely. I’m so glad she entered my head space.

I'm ordering Hawaiian pizza with extra pineapple for supper, what about you?

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