This evening I was in the grocery store parking lot, and watched a girl, about nine years old, and her mom, approach their car. Each of them had full plastic bags hanging from their wrists.
The girl was talking very fast, very urgently, and the mom was listening intently. Every now and then the girl would stop and laugh, tentatively. The mother would chuckle. And the girl would continue.
I especially noticed the dynamic because they weren’t using English, so I wasn’t distracted by the content of their conversation. But I knew the rhythm of it. Intimately. And I was silently grateful for the excellent parenting that I was privy to.
At the same time, I felt a tremendous pang for the days when my own daughters were that age, when they had so much to tell me that they could hardly get the words out fast enough. And oh how I loved to stop and listen and absorb what they were saying, and why it mattered so much.
Those are excellent years.
To this day, if I offer to cut up a piece of fruit for one of my daughters, they’ll ask: What do you want to talk about?
We sit down and I slice the apple and divvy it between us. As we eat the slices off the knife, the words flow. Fruitful conversation.