The Inimitable Sara C.


Another Sunday story…

Well, here it is Sunday again. Not too many more left in this year. I think my favorite year was 66….there was just something special about writing those sixes next to each other…maybe its just because I was young and thought silly thoughts, who knows. But every year at this time that thought crosses my mind…go understand.

In those days, I never had a book far from my side, and spent most nights reading long past the time when everyone had gone to bed. I remember my mother would come into my room at least five times a night to scream at me to “go to sleep, already!”. OH! I LOVED to read, you get the idea. So the fact that I could never get my daughter interested in reading has been a continual puzzlement.

So just imagine my surprise when I went to pick her up from her job today and found her sitting, engrossed, in a book. I sat in my car and watched her with amazement. Five whole minutes passed before she even glanced up and saw me, which she said was due more to the fact that she heard my car, which is distinctive to her. It made me so happy to see that level of involvement and I made no bones about it. Right there. Right away. Told her how great it made me feel that she was reading because she wanted to read. I guess that comment opened her up, and she approached me on another subject that evidently had been sitting on her mind.

You see, we went to my cousin Vicki’s house for Thanksgiving. There were a ton of people there, and everyone had an absolutely super time. Sara has always been especially interested in family, and seemingly has never been able to get enough to fill her up. She continually asks me who her cousins are, where they live, when we can see them, who is her age, and so on and so on. She felt a tiny bit ill at ease in the beginning, but everyone, especially Vicki’s daughters, Ari and Jamie, went out of their way to pull her in and include her, which helped her get over her shyness. So I am not expecting this next comment.

She tells me two things. First, she tells me how my cousin Vicki, her husband and her parents told her how pretty she is. Even that my uncle told her she will most certainly be among the three prettiest girls in her class by the time she graduates high school. I think this is awfully nice, and I am touched by the effort to bolster her confidence. The next thing she says to me is; “I feel funny, that attention is supposed to go to Ari and Jamie”. and then; “I feel kind of bad, because they are supposed to focus on them, not me”. No matter how much I question her what she means, she cannot answer me exactly. I am confused by her comment and am unable to find the right question to ask her to understand what exactly she is trying to tell me. But I need to do the marketing and cook dinner, so we move on.

Four hours later, the groceries are put away, things are boiling on the stove, and all of a sudden it hits me. It makes HER jealous when I pay attention to other people. So she assumes that it makes others uncomfortable when attention is paid to her. I must remember how much a child she still is, no matter what she looks like on the outside. I also have another incredible revelation – no wonder no one could ever understand my commentaries or me. It took me several hours of ponder to understand what that even meant, because I knew it meant something.

The only thing I wasn’t sure of is if my conclusions were true. The only way to find out was to ask her. I was reminded of all the times in the past when she “gave” me the keys to understand her like this, and how I used them to open doors for future conversations. So I asked her, gently, and after a little bit she admitted to me that she felt jealous if I paid attention to anyone else. What a surprising revelation…I must admit I was rather surprised by the entire thought.

What a mystery job this is, parenting. To try and figure out, with a minimum of clues, what is going on in someone else’s brain. In order to intervene at the proper time and correct the conclusions that have been arrived at in error. I score on this one.