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Monday, November 14, 2011

Oops, Wrong Lap!

     “Diddle-diddle-diddle-diddle,” filled the room as the staccato, rapid-fire current new word from the very petite fourteen-month-old Lisa rang out. “Diddle-diddle-diddle.” Stop power-walking (toddler-style) feel those forehead muscles as the face is pulled into a deep frown and off again. “Diddle-diddle-diddle-diddle,” repeated Sojourner’s precious little niece who was hurrying her way in this stop-start manner through Grandpa and Grandma’s lakeside home. It was Lisa’s latest find, frowning muscles, and she continually enjoyed weaving her way through each room of the house, practicing the new word and facial gesture. Of course to the set of Grandparents and twenty-six-year-old Auntie Sojourner who were having their very first encounter with the newest member of the family, the little treasure was such fun to watch. She was decked out in cute little summer dresses with tiny shoes and socks each day. Her soft, porcelain skin accented with that very dark hair did give one the impression of a lovely little doll on the move.

    Lisa was, as one would expect, shy and not all that interested in getting to know the new grown-ups in her life. Her seven-year-old sister was there with mom and Dad and that pretty much made up her chosen universe. As the family reunion-type vacation progressed, Lisa did relax a little with the rest of her just-introduced relatives but she was very obviously most content with someone from her nuclear family close at hand.

     The second stage of Lisa’s family vacation involved leaving this lakeside home in Idaho and traveling across to her Eastern Montana Grandparents’ home. New geography meant new challenges to the little girl. Not only was she in a different home, her older sister had remained behind with the Idaho Grandparents. She had spent time with the Montana relatives while in Idaho but, well, things were just different. No huge, sparkling blue lake, for one thing; but, on the other hand, there was a two-tiered velvety green lawn with many pretty flowers in the backyard and a bright green lawn with flowering bushes in the front. Lisa was happy with that scenery, for sure… a little lady who loved colorful things! Mom was always close at hand when Daddy was with Grandpa talking about ham radio things so all was well in Lisa’s new world experience, called “Vacation.” Lisa could not have known what the dual reason for the timing of this vacation might have been, since the words Ten-Year High School Class Reunion,” would have meant nothing to the child whose only exposure to “school” was Sesame Street. Friday evening, however, Lisa found out!

     Rising from a quick nap, Lisa made her way to the living room, where she felt certain she would find Mommy talking to the Montana grandparents. Head down in that chin-to-chest extreme, the silent toddler slowly made her entry into the furniture-filled room. Without lifting her head, Lisa tried to open her eyes, just enough to find her mother without being seen. She did not want to draw attention to herself so she reckoned if she did not get a good look at the adults in the room, they would not get a good look at her either.

     “Ah ha, there she is standing in front of the big chair next to the fireplace,” discovered Lisa, without speaking out her find. Lisa made a careful bee-line over to the adult figure she had identified as “Mommy” by the mid-thigh to floor view she had been able to steal. Head still down, holding out her arms, Lisa waited to be picked up. She did not notice that, at this point, Grandma stopped talking and all the adults in the room just watched with amazement at the little drama playing out. Until now, Lisa had never let anyone of the Montana family hold her. It looked like Auntie Sojourner would take the prize for being the first one to win Lisa over! Sojourner held her breath in an attempt to somehow avoid destroying this Hallmark moment, as she bent down and took the little treasure in her arms.

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