A tiny blur—no higher than my waist—bolted out like a shot.
It was my niece Brielle, exhibiting the kind of precocious energy only a four-year-old can muster. She barely took notice of me as she sprinted past.
I spun around and stared, rather taken by her in that moment. Her dress was swirling about her, the colors overlapping like a kaleidoscope. Her cocoa colored hair–wildly whipped by the wind-was rapidly forming into one giant knot, and her cheeky smirk insinuated she was definitely up to something.
I grinned after her.
“Brielle!” I called out. “You look beautiful!”
She turned and looked back at me with a serious face, eyes as brown and round as malted milk balls.
“Thank you,” she said, quite matter-of-factly.
And she was on her way.
I stood in silence for a full ten seconds after she left me in her galloping dust. You see, typically these interchanges take a lot longer.
Telling anyone over the age of 12 they look beautiful typically garners one of the following responses:
Really? I feel so fat.
Did you see the baby vomit in my hair?
Yeah right. I didn’t even shower today.
That’s because I’m wearing a baggy shirt that covers my rolls.
Or just straight up laughter.
I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve received a simple “thank you” in return for a compliment. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve given a simple “thank you,” without inviting my unsuspecting friend into my gaping pit of insecurity.
So Brielle’s thank you left me completely taken aback. My loving observation hadn’t been thrown back in my face, like an ugly sweater with no gift receipt.
**Image Courtesy of Shannon Delmonico; graphics by Sarah Richardson**