Thursday, February 10, 2011

Seeds of tact

Last week, sitting in the backseat of the car with Mae, age four-and-a-half, while her dad chauffeured us home after pre-school, I noticed she was getting a bit squirmy. “Mae,” I said. “I think I have something in my purse that you’ll find interesting.” I drew out a pack of watermelon-flavored gum from the depths of my oversized handbag and offered her a stick. I was right in my supposition. She contentedly chewed the gum until we were back on home turf a few minutes later.

The following day, we were again in the car, returning from Mae’s gymnastic lesson. She was understandably fatigued, and not particularly happy when Papa announced that we had a few errands to take care of before going home. As he pulled into the grocery store parking lot, Mae sat forward in her car seat. “Papa, I need you to buy me a watermelon. I’m hungry for a watermelon.”

“A watermelon?” Papa seemed more surprised than perturbed. “I don’t think I can buy one this time of year.” A frown crossed Mae’s brow and the corners of her mouth drooped.

I flashed her a knowing look. “Uh, Mae . . . do you think there’s something in my purse that would satisfy you?”

And there it was again, that lovely smile—radiating throughout the car. We both were laughing as I reached into my purse . . .

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