Saturday, June 21, 2008

Opening up

I don’t know who JD is—an in tune little girl, a thoughtful young boy—but the freshly pressed and tidy child sitting next to me on the bus a couple of mornings ago was telling me about attending a birthday celebration for her/him.

The story began with my companion bus rider practicing her nouns. Dog! Window! And, most emphatically, Umbrella! Knowing her approximate age, and the slim projected chance for precipitation, I assumed the umbrella was more of a treasure than a talisman to ward off undesired weather. She got this umbrella—this unavoidably pink, emblazoned with Snow White, umbrella—at JD’s birthday party. And she was darn proud of it. The small commuter broke into song as I was getting off—a three year old’s confident version of “Bippety-Boppity-Boo.” I hoped no one would tell her that it was from a different movie than the brolly offered, with pride, for viewing by any who passed.

She was happy being on the bus with her mother, an umbrella, and people who in her mind were there only to receive the stories she arranges and bestows like bouquets.

As she ages and her stories become more complex, nuanced, and even perhaps painful, may she never falter in the belief that her stories are gifts and that there will be people willing to receive them with the recognition and respect they deserve.

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