Tuesday, November 15, 2011

the profundity of a 7-year-old.

"Yes, this is familiar... wait... oh yes, that's right... er, hang on..."

As familiar surroundings slowly faded into shadowy landscapes, nameless suburbs, and lampposts looming in the inky darkness, I thought more than once of simply turning around the 15-passenger van I was driving and head back towards town. After all, I wasn't positive that Alyssa's Girl Scout meeting was tonight, and time was hurrying right along.  However, with each passing street sign, the 7-year-old insisted that we were heading in the right direction.  Nervous though I was (of the uncertainty of the situation and the surrounding darkness), I was determined to show Alyssa, whom I have known for a mere 3 weeks, that I wanted to try for her.  That I could be trusted, and, most of all, that I believed she knew her way.

Amazingly, with only one missed turn on our record, this little blonde-haired orphan navigated us to a tiny church way on the outskirts of town, simply by photographic memory (and a few memorized pointers from her mom), in the pitch-black nonetheless.  After permitting myself a moment of astonishment at this child's ability to step out of her own little world and recognize landmarks and memorize information, we ran inside Baker's Chapel, only to discover that her Girl Scout class (Brownies!) would be meeting the following week!

Laughing at ourselves, Alyssa and I, knowing each other more now than before, trotted back to the van, and proceeded to backtrack all the way to our starting point: Palmer Home for Children, Alyssa's new home, as of 3 weeks ago.

Looking back, I probably should have told Alyssa that I wouldn't be able to take her to Girl Scout's until I found out more information, namely when and where the heck it was.  It was after dark, I genuinely did not know where I was going, and a 7-year-old was directing me.  You don't have to be exceptionally intelligent to get the feeling that that isn't a great situation.  After it was all said and done, not only was gas wasted and Girl Scouts a no-go, it also seemed unlikely that Alyssa would appreciate my desire to be trustworthy by simply trying, despite the discouraging circumstances!  7-years-old is a little young to understand those kind of motives.

Yet again, however, she surprised me with an uncanny ability to understand and act on ideas seemingly beyond her.  It was not simply that she ran to me and hugged me before I left, or even that she uttered the exact words I had seriously doubted she could even think to say, "Thank you for trying."  It was the way in which she said them... as if she had put herself in my shoes, knew exactly how I must feel, and produced the proper phrase to assuage those feelings.

So simple. So profound.

I prefer kids any day of the week. (Now, if only I could remember to photograph these significant little events...)

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