That Might Change

“Then I’m not your child anymore!” Buddy-roo screamed it at me.

This was after I refused her a DVD movie viewing during breakfast. She stuck out that bottom lip and stomped away.

“That might change,” Short-pants said to her.
“No it won’t,” argued Buddy-roo.
“You can’t be sure.”
“Yes I can.”
“Well, that might change, too.”

How does Short-pants know such things? With absolute certainty she answers her little sister’s angry attack (at me) with a response that sounds like it’s being channeled. Who lives inside her? Some kind of Buddha?
I ask her how she finds these wise words. “Did you think of it? Did you hear somebody say that?”

“I just heard it in my head.”

Last week I asked her what she wanted for her birthday. She said she needed a new pencil eraser for school. Okay, I agreed, but what else, what would you like for you, that’s for fun? She had to stop and think about it. “Well, I’d like a new princess dress, and I can share that with my sister.”

She doesn’t get this angelic genetic coding from me.

When Short-pants was in the hospital – years ago, when she was three – the day before her second brain surgery, the neurosurgeon who was to perform the operation granted us a meeting in her office. Short-pants had already been in the Intensive Care Unit for nearly four weeks, after being rushed there in a coma caused by a tumor that turned out to be a brain abscess. The drugs that were supposed to shrink the abscess weren’t working, so the doctors had decided to operate again. The surgeon placed the ominous MRI negatives up on the florescent board and traced the outline of the large circular mass just behind the forehead; it looked like a hurricane on a weather map, gathering strength as it moved in on the coast. Then she described to us how they would simply carve it out and extract it from my daughter’s little head.

“And afterward, what will be left?” I asked.
“Nothing, just an empty space.”
“What will you fill it with?” De-facto asked.

From the look on her face, this baffled the surgeon. Probably not something she’d been asked before. But she managed a good recovery: “What would you have me put in?”

Without missing a beat he told her: “love, strength and wisdom.”

The surgeon softened, and let loose the smile she had tried to conceal. And then, it seems, she did just as he asked.

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