Four Little Things
It started innocently enough. On the (very) short drive home from school, I would ask Little D how her day was.
Ok. I would prod a little further…like really good? Ok good? Sort of good? What did you learn? Who did you play with? I peppered her with questions before we were even out of the parking lot.
She is five. Visions of a sulking sixteen year old glued to her iPhone in my backseat (or front seat by then, I suppose…or gasp, driving me in her car) danced through my head.
I think I have a pretty great relationship with my daughter. She seems to be quite the mommy’s girl. We hang out, we laugh, she looks to me for comfort and wisdom and most of the time, listens to it.
But suddenly, I could feel her slipping away…slowly. With one little word.
She is five.
If I can’t find a way to talk to her now, how will I talk to her later when it really counts? I am already an avid reader of articles and advice on raising teenagers. Frankly, having adolescents in this day and age freaks me right out. So many pressures and societal factors to contend with. So many bullies and drugs and cliques and texts and…Facebook.
I may be naive, but I hope to find a way to push through that clutter and still be a welcome voice to my kids, even when they are thirteen, fifteen, seventeen and beyond.
So I have started with four little things.
Now when Little D gets in the car after school, I ask her to tell me four things about her day. Any old things. It can be what she ate at snack, who she sat next to during music, which book they read at story time. Any four things. But she has to be quick about it, done before we finish the mile or so drive home. And they have to be from that day. And I don’t hammer her with any questions beyond that one – tell me four things about your day.
Why four? Who knows, it was the first number that came to mind. It was less than 10 but more than three, which seemed perfectly comfortable for both of us.
It takes her a minute. Despite me continuously telling her it can be anything, big or small, funny or not, she likes to give it some thought. But since we started, she has managed to come up with four each and every day before we make it home. One day I learned about her newfound interest in fossils. Another I discovered that she is indeed friends with that boy Luke who reportedly isn’t friends with any of the girls. Yesterday, I learned that she doesn’t really like the cheese I have been putting in her sandwiches for months now (note to self).
Four little things. That have become so big without either of us really realizing it.
It’s quick and it’s (almost) effortless and it’s fun.
And with no sign of the word anywhere, it’s really…good.
*image above of Josie Maran and her daughter Rumi via The Glow*