As a parent, part of your brain (o.k. all of it most of the time) is on "child alert", and you will be in dire straits if you do not pay attention! If any of us spent as much time with any other human being as with our children, we would get to know them pretty well, yes? And yet sometimes we miss the cues.
Because of course the wriggle in this is that the person we spend all this time with is only just learning how to effectively express their needs in words. They've got it down pat in other ways; body language, wordless verbal skills, intonation ;-) but unfortunately as adults we sometimes are dismissive of these methods because we think we've outgrown them. So, it's a good thing we spend as much time with our children as we do to give us the opportunity to become attuned to their peculiar ways of communicating, because "Mama, it is late in the morning and I'm feeling a little hungry and while mildly interesting, I will soon lose patience with your insistence on looking at wool when in fact we should be procuring some food for nourishment" with not be forthcoming any time soon.
Usually I don't even get a "Mama, I'm hungry" as a warning :-)
And so in such a situation I found myself a while back in the cozy store Americo on Queen Street West. On an errand, I had detoured to this wonderful place at a time when any other sensible person would have been finding lunch. The wool had beckoned like a siren and my ears became deaf to all else.
The moral of the story is that there are some really wonderful people in the world. As soon as we stepped in, the two ladies (the co-owner Nicole and her son-in-law's sister, I think?) were attentive and warm, especially to Safiya. Lost in wonderland, I failed to (maybe a little willfully) realise that we really should have left already. The lady offered Safiya some lovely felted flowers, at which generosity Safiya became very upset because there were no pink ones!
Chagrined, we left, a three-and-a-half-year-old's cries in the air, me upset at Safiya's reaction, but really more upset at myself for not paying attention! as well as I could have. To make matters worse, I'm embarrassed to admit I started chastising Safiya right in front of the store, until, trying to help, the lady came out and I snapped-to, realised what I was doing, and humbly went in search of lunch. We sat down to our food, calmed down, talked about it, and....went back to the store.
Because of course, in the middle of everything, the generous and brilliant lady (whose name eludes me) had made the suggestion that we come back some time and she could show us how to make the flowers, and we could dye them pink at home. She is someone who was born gracious, and I could've kissed her feet then and there. Tummies full, we sat with the other ladies who were there for knitting in the afternoon, crocheted, chatted a little, and that experience soon filled our hearts, its sunshine obliterating the clouds from earlier in the day.
Yesterday, finishing up a soon-to-be-listed hood for the shop, I came across the flowers and the skein of hand-spun wool that we brought from that place and decided to use them, bringing to what I was making the kindness and warmth of that memory.
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