Wednesday, May 25, 2011

When I Grow Up...

Tuesday was my day off with Eliana.  Unfortunately I had to spend a good chunk of my time doing some busy, but extremely important, work and could not "play" as much as I would have liked.  And yet, Elly just hung out next to me most of the day.  Never far from reach, often expressing little encouragements, and simply being by her mom.

While we probably should have had a free lunch at home, we decided to go out to one of Elly's favourite guessed it, McDonald's.  We weren't able to go until quite late due to said work that wasn't going quite as smoothly or quickly as I'd hoped.  But, Elly patiently waited, watching a bit of T.V. and chilling out next to me.

Clearly not McDonald's - just a fun shot!
At McDonald's, I watched Eliana with a sense of admiration.  When we pulled up, she confidently hopped out of the van in her fashionable gray sweater dress and gray tights.  She bounced into the restaurant with a light heart and a hint of confident, but respectful, sass.  At the counter, she chatted freely with the woman on the register and a man wearing dirty boots and a worker's jump suit.  She wondered where he worked to get such dirty boots.  She wasn't quite sure what to do when he replied that he drove a truck all around town and down dirt roads picking up garbage.  But, nonetheless, with a simple prompt she told him thank you for telling her where he worked.  She twirled for the register lady, showing off the dress that earned her a compliment from behind the counter.

Once we got the food, she eagerly went into the play area (ALWAYS my favourite place to sit!) and found a seat.  We were the only ones in there, but there clearly had been a rush earlier as a number of the tables were still dirty.  I gave her three choices from the clean tables available.  "This one has a little wet spot, but that's okay!" she smiled as she slipped into her seat.  She then gleefully pulled out her apples, chicken nuggets, chocolate milk and zooble toy.  You would have thought she was enjoying Christmas dinner and opening a special gift.  And she chatted away, commenting on big things and little things that many people don't even notice.  It caused me to comment, "You know what's cool about God?  He cares about the big things and the little things too.  Nothing's too big or too little for Him."  She briefly pondered this comment and then continued on, talking about her brothers and other things that made her happy.  While it may sound like "excessive" talking, it wasn't.  It was just fun.
Again....Not McDonald's.
"Do you think I should give my stomach a break and play for a little bit?" she sheepishly grinned and asked.  I normally say no to mid-meal play breaks, but what the heck?  "Sure," just be sure to wipe your hands really well before you go on and when you come back.  Up she popped, wiping her hands and skipping over to the play equipment.  While she played, an employee came in to wipe tables and clean up spilled milk.  As Elly scrambled off the end of the slide, she cheerfully greeted the young man.  "Hello!" she yelled.  And up she went again.  "Watch me drive, Mom!  Can you see me up here in the window?"  She chattered on about who knows what and the cleaning guy, who'd also seen us when we first came in, asked, "how old is she?"  "She's five...well, five and a half," I replied.  "Wow!  She sounds really smart," he said.  "Yep, she's a smarty," I replied, not totally sure what to say.  As he and I chatted about a variety of things...yes, I do often talk to the workers of fast food restaurants...she occasionally popped by and chimed in.  After a little while, cleaning guy said goodbye as he left the play area, thanking us for coming in to eat.  "Goodbye!  Thank you!" Elly yelled out her encouragement.

As we left McDonald's, I prompted Elly to say goodbye and thank you to the woman who helped us at the register.  She attempted without success two times and then scooted closer to the counter.  "Goodbye and thank you!" she cheerfully echoed.  "You are welcome!  And thank you!" said register lady.  And then Laquilla (I think that is the right name), the familiar manager, asked Elly if she would like a kiddy cone.  "Hooray!  A kiddy cone!" Elly said as she bopped over to the counter.  Again - Christmas in May!  "Tell Miss Laquilla thank you," I prompted. "Thank you, Miss Laquilla"...and then "Thank you, Miss Melanie" (aka register lady).  And out she went practically skipping, just as she came in.

As I watched Eliana, admiring her confidence, her positive attitude, her desire to connect and make others feel good, her joy and delight in the simple things, her sweetness, her charisma, her innocence, and her unabashed fun, it hit me.  "You know what, Eliana?" I said as I buckled her into her booster seat. "What, Mom?" she said licking the edges of her cone.  "When I grow up, I want to be just like you," I said.  She laughed and said, "Mom, you can't have blond hair like me!"  "No, no," I said, "I want to be like you" and then told her a few things that I saw in her that I liked.  Elly just grinned and started to bite her kiddy cone cone.

It is true.  As I grow up...or at least grow older...I would love to be more like what I saw in Elly today, and most days, actually.  And, I would love to be more like what I saw in my Grandma.  It is possible.  He's not finished with me yet.  He's begun a good work in me and will be faithful to complete it (Phil. 1:6).  I'm sure of it!
Definitely not McDonald's! But how fun and free spirited is that?!?

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