My Mona. In some respects she's my easiest child, but in many she's the most complicated of my three children. She's gone from being a bold and fearless toddler and preschooler to a more self-conscious and emotional grade-schooler. She's creative and funny, sometimes reclusive but other times eager to join in as long as a group makes her feel safe. She can work on projects silently for hours, but she can also be loud. She's shy and silly and sweet.
Tonight I was really proud of her. We went to St Ben's to do our monthly volunteering there, and she seemed much more at home. She was nervous the first time, handing out forks and spoons to people in the food line and not making eye contact. The next couple of times she handed out fruit or desserts and was better about engaging everyone. She even brought a stuffed animal to give away to a child in the line.
This time she was comfortable enough that I didn't even have to be in her line of sight. She and Quinn handed out desserts together and I was able to go into the back room and help wash dishes. (Someone back there joked that I must have drawn the short straw, but the truth is I like the harder work. I like feeling as if I'm getting something done.)
When it was time for us to go eat, an old man came up to Mona at our table and used a line on her that was intended to be charming, but was in reality a little awkward. He said, "I bet I know your name!" Mona smiled politely and looked interested, and then he said, "It's Cutie, right? Because you're a cutie?"
What would you do with that? I may have laughed a little and then turned away. As a self-conscious ten year old I didn't know how Mona would respond.
But you know what she did? She said, "Actually, my name is Mona. But thank you for the compliment." And she went back to her meal.
I was really impressed. That was a dignified response that left the man happy, too.
Also impressive: Mona's recent model of the Wright Brothers' plane that she made for the upcoming Science Fair at school. (Which relates to nothing else in this post I guess, except that I want to show it off because I think it's so freaking cool. Now that Mona has permission to use the hot glue gun on her own the sky is no longer the limit.)
Love that Mona.