Every parent thinks that their child is unique, but actually, all humans have individual nuances to their personality that make them interesting and different. My differences are often very apparent and although my daughter does not believe it, she also does little things that are not “common” actions.
A perfect example of Alyssa’s quirkiness would be when we take a simple trip to the doctor. After checking in with the receptionist, I sit down, fold my arms and touch nothing. I hope that all the germs crawling around will leave me alone. I think that I will be better off if I avoid touching as many surfaces as possible.
In contrast, my daughter not only looks at the magazines, but she straightens all of them on the coffee tables. It does not matter if the whole room is filled with people, she will create a Better Homes and Garden coffee table arrangement with magazines.
I have gotten used to Alyssa’s organizational tendencies in doctor’s offices. Over the years, there have been all kinds of reactions from other patients. Some people smile. Some people laugh. Some people just raise their eyebrows and watch her in confusion and amazement as she methodically rearranges all the magazines. It is just something that Alyssa does and it is an action that sets her apart from most people.
The other night I made shrimp for dinner and I cooked them with the tails still attached. Not a big deal. We happily devoured our meal. No, we did not daintily eat our food because we were both very hungry. I do not even think we talked to each other until we were finished and I dare say, we did not chew each bite the proper number of times. By the time the food had disappeared from my plate, Alyssa had already taken her place setting to the kitchen.
This is where Alyssa becomes Alyssa.
I gathered up my utensils and plate and walked into the kitchen to rinse them off. That is when I saw Alyssa’s plate. All that was left on her shrimp plate was some of the sauce and the empty tails.
Did you just get a visual of a pile of tails and sauce on a plate?
No, that is not what waited for me in the kitchen. Instead of a plate smeared with sauce and scattered shrimp tails with the remnants of vegetable side dishes, I was met with several plates – one plate for the vegetables and one for the shrimp. The plate for the shrimp had a little circle of cocktail sauce and another with the sauce from the shrimp. The shrimp tails were not in the center of the plate, but were neatly lined up side-by-side on the edge of the plate.
It was almost artistic in a first grade type art piece. I could see two large eyes (globs of sauce) and a big tooth-filled smile (shrimp tails).
Obviously, I am a seasoned mother. I have seen some wild drawings and always managed to say, “Oh! That is such a beautiful picture!” even though the picture she had drawn showed my nose on my forehead and my ears growing out of my neck. Yes, I proudly stuck it to the refrigerator and praised her continually.
This wonderful human being that I gave birth to eighteen years ago is a unique individual and extremely special in more ways than just organizing magazines in the doctor’s office or lining up empty shrimp tails on her plate at dinner. There are a billion things about Alyssa that I love, adore and cherish. She is so wonderful and I feel so thankful to have the opportunity to be a part of her life.
Who would have ever imagined that a shrimp tail would hold such a lovely memory?
It is a wonderful surprise that after all these years and during the most unexpected moments, my child makes me smile by just being herself.