“That’s how you know,” six year old Alena said as she crossed her arms and stuck out her hip. With her heart shaped sunglasses and serious tone of voice, it did not take much for her body language to reflect the matter of fact attitude behind her advice-giving this morning.
Sometimes it is difficult to remember that Alena is barely a first grader. Since she was about three, I started talking to her like I would talk to an old friend. She has always been one of those kids that is naturally wise beyond her years. Speaking in a childish tone of voice just does not feel right in a conversation with my six year old niece. “Alena. You are telling me that is all there is behind knowing he is the one?” I ask her with an equal amount of seriousness in my voice.
We are swinging in unison at Alena’s favorite playground in town. The playground itself is swamped with miniature adults crawling up and down slides and climbing onto spider web ladders. When it isn’t filled with other patrons, Alena and I enjoy creating our own games on the monkey bars and the funky ladders and slides on the new playground, but the swings are our little semblance of peace on these busier mornings.
“That’s all,” she says, clearly done with the conversation as she leaps from the swing. “He isn’t mean, and he still loves you even when you’re grumpy. Why wouldn’t you want to keep him around?”