Tuesday morning shopping with a suspiciously well-behaved Daphne. That child, accidental murderer of poultry, driver-crazy of sisters and mothers and fathers, unstoppable irritating machine -- in short, a totally ordinary three-year-old -- was being charming, responsible with her miniature shopping cart, chatty with strangers.
A grandma-aged woman said, "Oh, how old are you, darlin'? You must be four!"
"I turned fwee for my birfday," Daphne informed her, holding up three fingers.
"My goodness," said the woman, turning to me. "She's very tall for her age!" I agreed.
"And she doesn't act like a three-year-old! Why, that was the only time I really hated being a mother -- when my children were three. Three and thirteen. Those were the only times I just didn't want to do it any more."
I assured her that today's behavior was unusual, that I knew exactly what she meant, and that I was grateful that our good day could be shared with the shopping public. And off we went to the dairy case. I said a little prayer in my head, that her kids take good care of her as she ages.
May I grow up to be that lady in a grocery store someday: Complimentary, kind, admiring, and unabashedly honest about the reality of parenting little children.