Ava loves to cook, play, tend to our chickens, garden, picnic, stoop-sit, travel, hang with friends…. She loves all of these experiences very much and I love that she loves them.
Among all of these “loves”, a good film ranks right up near the top.
A couple of nights ago, she was watching a film with her two older cousins in Minnesota. All three of them were captivated by the story. Their little heads swayed with the motion of Peter Pan soaring through the sky. They thrust their little arms into the air every time Pan beat Hook. As I watched them watch Peter Pan, I imagined that they were so enthralled with the film that the line between reality and fantasy had altogether disappeared. As far as they were concerned, they were watching the film from within the story.
And then, Ava’s youngest cousin (18 mos.) began to cry. After a couple moments of prolonged sobbing, I noticed that Ava’s head had turned from the film to Lucy. Her attention shifted from fantasy to reality.
But she didn’t stop at noticing her cousin’s cries…she got up and did something about it. I watched as she rummaged through a wicker basket for a special blanket. Having found it, she next collected a singing Christmas card that she had just received an hour earlier. With both objects in hand, she neared Lucy, covered her up, showed her the Christmas card, played it for her once, taught her how to do it herself, gently brushed her cheek, and then silently returned to the film without another word.
The adventure of compassionate living had trumped the entertainment of passive fantasy.
My daughter heard the cries of another.
She allowed her life to be interrupted by the life of another.
She tended to the needs of another and then taught the other how to do it herself.
She did all of this with tenderness and with no need to be acknowledged for it.
Having heard the cries and responded, she then drifted back into anonymity.
My daughter prefers compassionate living to passive entertainment.