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Posts Tagged ‘Emma Thompson quote’

Children don’t need much advice, but they really do need to be listened to and not just with half an ear. (Emma Thompson)

Eight-year-old Rebe and I have a girl-bonding day. We are mermaids at the YMCA Water Park. Young mermaids! I need a lot more imagination than she does to fill this role. She explains the scenario and I follow, adding as much absurdity as I can.

The pool is divided into sections. Upper-class kid mermaids swim in the larger, shallow, easy-to-manage section. The lower class lives in the slightly deeper territory. I tell her I can’t fathom wealth, so I will tread water. (I prefer this area anyway.)

Of course her game morphs and she spends most of the time in the freer kicking space. She can swim. I celebrate listening to her banter. She doesn’t want to leave as the time grows closer.

“One more minute.” She raises one finger. Then she smiles. “Five more minutes?”

Rush-hour traffic isn’t going to get any better one way or another. Dinner is semi-prepared. Daddy won’t be picking her up for two and one-half hours.

“Five more minutes,” I say.

She grins.

Then a tall, slender woman pushes a young man in a wheelchair into the water. The young man is paralyzed. Rebe watches as the woman, smiling, pulls him from the chair and works his arms and legs through the warmed water.

“Therapy?” Rebe asks in a soft voice.

“I think so.”

“Or fun?”

“Maybe that, too.”

A huge man with skin the color of milk chocolate enters the water. He helps. I think about what a good idea his presence is. His size and strength could be helpful getting the young man back into the chair. The thin, pale woman and the large man laugh and joke with the younger man. I see the paralyzed man bat his hand at them. A response, probably enormous judging by the cheer of his two helpers.

“Therapy,” Rebe repeats. “Or maybe they are family.”

I pause taking in the beauty of my granddaughter. The two assistants look nothing alike. Yet, Rebe and I both know families—more than one—with a father the color of dark honey, fresh graham crackers, or gourmet licorice, and a mother as pale as apple blossoms or an unpicked peach. Rebe looks inside to who an individual is. The outside is secondary. She goes to a school where color is superficial; I live in a neighborhood where skin colors match the picture below.

Probably not, I think. “Maybe,” I answer.

I tell Rebe it is time to go back to my house. Grandpa is waiting for us. But I am grateful for those five extra minutes. They brought a larger gift than 300 extra seconds in pool water.

skin colored crayons

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