A little kid came into my clinic this week with his daycare mom. He was gorgeous, maybe four or five years old. And shy, shy, shy. Couldn’t look at me, couldn’t bear me looking at him. He stared steadfastly and silently into the garbage can while I showed him where the toys were in my waiting room. His huge, sad eyes were filled with tears the entire time.
After a few attempts, I gave up trying to make friends and began my work with his mom. A couple of minutes later, when I looked over at him, he was holding the tiny stuffed zebra that lives in my toy box. I hadn”t even seen him leave the room to get it. He put it on a stool and went back to the waiting room. He came back a minute later with a plastic cylinder filled with liquid and stars. Then another trip for the kaleidoscope from the toy box. He just kept at it, over and over, until he had every toy in the clinic with him, at which point he looked content. Still shy, but not teary-eyed, and definitely more comfortable.
I”ve been thinking about him ever since. First, because I was that shy when I was a kid. I”m not much better now, in some situations.
Second, it made me wonder about what we each collect in order to calm ourselves when the going gets rough.
I collect food. Absolutely. I eat when I”m scared. Burgers, pasta, good bread and butter, and cereal, until I”ve stunned myself quiet.
I collect friends who tell the truth and who are kind.
I collect books of all kinds. I”m surrounded by them. I can look anyone in the eye when I”m carrying a book.
I collect my kids, who make me feel better no matter what.
And I collect naps, which are always good.
What do you collect to make you feel better? Cars? Clothes? Sex? Booze? University degrees? Vacations?
I”d love to hear.
Thanks to my little friend with the kaleidoscope.
And thanks for the conversation,