I got to eat lunch today with two of my favorite people, Jim and Shelley Dinsmore, missionaries in Guatemala. I’ve gone down to visit them and help them put on dramas in jungle villages a few times before, and I always have an amazing time. They’re home on furlough, which is a fancy church word for the span of time missionaries come home to touch base with their supporting churches and just basically take a break from the field to visit with family. I’m sure there’s a more accurate definition than that, but that’s how I’ve always defined it.
We met up at a Mexican place downtown and had a wonderful time just chatting and catching up. (Yes, we ate Mexican. No, they aren’t tired of Mexican because Guatemalan food is very different.) They brought Eden with them, their 14-month old daughter, and I was so excited because I really hadn’t gotten the opportunity to spend any time with her. I met her for the first time a week or so ago, but fifteen minutes of chatting with her parents didn’t really give me the chance to get to know her then. So lunch today was awesome!
And let me tell you: This little girl sparkles.
I love their boys already. I had never really been into babies. Jim and Shelley were my first close friends to have children. I haven’t ever been around little kids. I didn’t babysit as a teenager; I was a librarian. So I never really liked kids. I mean, I taught a kindergarten boy’s small group at church for a little while, but that was only for 20 minutes once a week. But until I got to hang out with Jonah and Silas, I had never spent extended amounts of time around babies.
So I was floored when at six months both boys showed completely different personalities. Awareness. Intelligence. I didn’t know kids that young knew who they were, but Jonah and Silas did. (Any of you who are moms and dads who are reading this: please feel free to laugh at me. I’m a 30-year-old single woman who has zero experience with children.)
E is just bright and cheerful and verbal. She points to the things she wants and lets you know exactly what she’s thinking. And she’s such a ham! She knows when you’re paying attention to her and plays it up all the way. And when you’re not paying enough attention to her, she makes sure you know she’s unhappy about it. When she wanted to tell me something she’d tap me on the arm. When she wanted something from me, she’d point to it and reach for it. At one point, she wanted my menu, so I opened it up and gave it to her and she pointed to the words inside like she’d seen us doing.
Some part of me still expects little kids to just be bumps on logs, like their personalities don’t show up until they learn how to form intelligible words. But the kids I’ve met so far have blown that theory out of the water. So that was my ironic observation of the day: Little kids have big personalities.
And grownups seem to have small personalities. Either that, or they hide them because it’s the fashionable thing to do. But I can tell you that the coolest grownups I know (I still have trouble calling myself a grownup) don’t hide who they are. They are who they are no matter where they are or where they’ve been. It starts with being honest about yourself, and there’s no one more honest than a little kid.
I think we adults could learn a lot from little kids…. Except the part about rubbing food in our hair or on the people sitting next to them. That part may not be necessary. Funny? Absolutely. But not necessary.