Sophia and I are eating breakfast together. This is a time when Sophie is inclined to suddenly reveal a little tidbit of what happens in her life when I am not around. I relish these moments.
These crumbs of personal experience must be offered, I have learned. When she comes home from school, she is always tight-lipped about her day.
“So, Soph…what happened in school today, anything interesting?”
“Can I listen to Seussical?”
“Can we talk for a little bit first? I haven’t seen you all day.”
“Okay mommy. I will tell you one thing. Then, you have to turn on Seussical.”
I sigh. I don’t want to grill her. But come on. Why the secrecy? When I was a child, I was all too happy to share every intimate detail of my day with my mother. Much to her chagrin.
My mom: “What happened at school today?” She braces herself. Pours a cup of coffee. Takes a seat.
Me: “First period: insert lengthy story. Second period: insert lengthy story. “ I am oblivious to all social cues that I should speed things up. Eyeball rolls. Yawns. Glances at the clock. (She teases me to this day, asking me when she calls, “So what happened during first period?” Very funny, mom.)
And even now, I catch my husband glazing over, when, in Technicolor, I illustrate for him exactly how the day went.
Even my therapist, MY THERAPIST, jokes that I talk too much. Can I help it? I’m a storyteller. It’s in my blood.
But, clearly, this is one trait Sophie has not inherited from me. Which is why, I get really excited when she engages in spontaneous sharing. I try not to act too hungry for every gory detail, but I know my eager expression betrays me every time.
“Trip asked me to marry him,” she says, as casually as if she was saying she learned how to squats in Kick N’ Flips.
“Who’s Trip?” I had never heard of this Trip fellow. Never seen him at Montessori before. He must be a new kid. Clearly, a man of action.
“Oh, he’s not in my class. He’s a napper. I see him on the play ground.”
“When did he ask you to marry him?”
“So, Trip was already in the bathroom, and I showed up.”
“What was he doing?” I pictured a one room bathroom.
“He was going to the potty.”
“And he asked me if I saw his foot.”
“So he was in a stall?” She looks at me like I’m an idiot, as if this is why she never tells me anything.
“So what did you do?”
“I said no. And he said, can you see my foot now? And I said no. And he said “AHHHHHHH! My butt’s on fire!”
“I’m not following.”
“He says that sometimes. To be silly.”
“So then what happened?”
“Then he asked to marry me.”
“And what were you doing, when he proposed to you?”
“Oh, I was pee-ing,” she says, matter-of-factly. Really. Can you think of anything more romantic than this?
“So what did you say?”
“I told him…maybe,” she gives me a coquettish, side-long glance.
“Because. I don’t know if I want to marry him, or PJ or Samantha.”
I nod, understandingly, and reach for pen and paper.
“Let me get this all down, I tell her. “ And she beams, while I write down her story, asking her to recount each detail, making sure I get it right.
When I’m finished, she asks, “Can I see?”
“Well, I just kind of scribbled it, Soph.” I tell her, handing her the slip of paper. She studies it, and I watch her mouth move. She’s reading it.
“What do you think?” I ask?
“Great!” I can see she is quite pleased with herself.
She may not suffer from the same verbal incontinence that I do, but she shares the same impulse. We all share that impulse.