One member of our house is simply more efficient than the others. So much so, that we have taken to calling her Daisy Poppins, as she seems to be practically perfect in every way. Last year, we had houseguests stay with us for a few weeks, and they would ask where is the shampoo? and where might there be a needle? Any toothpicks? A piece of tape? Again and again, Daisy would pop out of her seat and go to the exact location of the wanted item...hence the name Daisy Poppins.
Daisy knows where everything in the house is. She takes note of every item and misses nothing except, mysteriously, her own library books for which we are always paying small fines. A few weeks ago, she came into my room, and while she was talking to me, opened Joe's bedside drawer and peered inside. "What do you need?" I asked. "Nothing," she said. "I'm just seeing what's in there."
I don't know where this trait for taking inventory came from, but it sure comes in handy. I don't know what I would do without her. For sure, I would never find my keys. However, she is efficient in other ways, too. For one thing, she is amazing entertainment for the whole family. Recently, she had some very loud hiccups and walked around the house sounding like she was in great pain. "Daisy," I said, "You can get rid of your hiccups by holding your breath." "I don't want to get rid of them," she said. "I like hiccups and I haven't had them for a long time." What an amazing perspective she has! Last year, she taught me a very important lesson. She had won the right to perform one of her many talents at a function sponsored by her school. The year prior, she had come home with a gold medal in her hand and this time, I thought that a public performance would be old hat. However, when it was time for her to step in front of the crowd, she hesitated. "Come on, Daisy," I coaxed. She looked up at me and said, "I don't want to." I was surprised...she'd been practicing for months and now she didn't want to? I asked, "Are you scared?" She said, "No, I just don't want to." A tear rolled down her face. What a dilemma. I wondered about how she might feel later if she backed out now. Would she be disappointed in herself? Linda Jo and I tried again to talk her into going up on stage, but she just looked at us seriously and repeated, "I don't want to." It was odd. I knew that if I pushed her, she would do it, but since she had tears in her eyes, I told her she didn't have to if she didn't want to. We sat back down and I wondered what was behind this display and what the teacher might say, but mostly I worried that she would be sorry that she hadn't made herself perform. Suddenly, there was a break and kids were streaming outside to the play area. I prepared myself to stay inside with her, but she said, "I want to play!" and she was off my lap and out the door. I wondered about her ability to dry her tears and go play in the sunshine...where was her disappointment? A short time later at the awards ceremony, the announcer asked that all participants come to the stage. I looked at her worriedly...surely now, she would be feeling bad, but no, she sprang out of her seat and stood happily on the stage. I got up with the other moms with cameras and took her picture. I looked at her up there and there was an intense gratitude that she did not feel any shame. The thought: no shame was immediately followed by another: that's your hangup, not hers. I was in awe of my own little girl, able to say no when she wanted to, able to know her own limits, able to cut herself some slack, able to dry her tears and enjoy her friends...but most of all, able to live outside of other people's expectations. She was amazing. She had come as a student, but that day, she was a teacher of a lesson I am still trying to learn.
Everyone should have such a bright spot of sunshine in their life. Everyone should have love notes placed around the house to find, and should be able to read stories like the ones she writes. Right now, there's one saved to my desktop called "The Elk of Christmas" and it's about "an elk, a huge elk, who was brown and had a mud spot on his back," but he was an elk who nonetheless managed to save Christmas. Having a Daisy in your life means that someone thinks you're wonderful, even if you have a mudspot on your back or any other number of flaws. Having a Daisy means you have a million reasons to smile.
Right now, she is sitting next to me, wearing her pink Wonder Woman t-shirt that says Girls will Save the World and she has a twinkle in her eye that is a mixture of mischief and magic. Could I be any more blessed? And so now you know a little more about the smallest spoonful of sugar in our house, and also one of the reasons I was too busy to write much last year...really, why am I sitting at the computer even now when she is tugging my arm, asking me to play a game of Sorry? "And mom, I know right where it is!"