Sunday, July 16, 2006

Two-Year-Old Courage

Julia is terrified of new people; when we encounter a neighbor or other adult in town who tries to say hello to her, she generally freezes and actually turns her head as far away from the person as possible, as if hoping to make the person disappear simply by refusing to look at him or her. When we gently prompt her, "Can you say hi back, honey?" she either says nothing or, poignantly, whispers, "Not today." Her fear is more than a little heartbreaking.

But the other day, we met our new next-door neighbor, a sweet elderly woman who asked Julia her name. Not expecting her to comply, I offhandedly said, "Honey, can you say, 'My name is Julia'?" You should have seen her. She paused a minute, steeled herself next to me, took a deep breath, and said haltingly but obediently, " Joo-ya!" She hardly looked up as she did it; it was all she could do to speak the words out loud.

It sounds like nothing, but I was so proud of her. That was BRAVE.

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