‘Tis A Season

IKEA. Not my favorite store – it’s too big and everything is self-service – but they carry kitchen items at a great price.  I needed a new non-stick fry pan. I knew IKEA would have just what I was looking for.

First stop, the Information booth. The escalator was out-of-order. I had a question so I got in line behind the family being served.

A little girl, about 7-years-old, was standing at the gate with her parents. They were signing her into the play area. She’d play while they shopped. Win/win.

She wore a floral printed t-shirt and peddle pushers with tennis shoes. Her hair was cut into a Dora-the-Explorer bob.

Slowly she turned toward me and started to dance .  .  .  first she swayed side-to-side, then took her Dad’s hand for him to twirl her. When she turned back to me she smiled.

“You must be happy,” I said. “Dancing means you’re happy inside.”

Her smile widened, as she began to sing.

Her dad told me, “She’s normally very shy and never dances in public.”

Again she took his hand to twirl. He in turn attached her name tag “Grace.” A perfect name for one so full of love and gracefulness.

“My grandmother is in Mexico. She left yesterday,” she told me between lyrics of her non-descript song.

“Mexico? Such a beautiful place,” I responded. “She must be having fun.”

“Yes,” her smile widened as she lovingly brushed her mother’s arm. Her mother was holding a newborn. But she responded to her daughter by returning the caress.

“She’s my mother’s mom,” Grace informed me.

“Shhhh,” her mother cautioned. Grace was getting a little too chatty. I imagine Grace isn’t usually so talkative or at least not in the last few weeks when grandma and mom were busy with the new baby. She seemed to finally be having time alone with her parents and her joy couldn’t be contained.

She turned to enter the center.

“Keep dancing, Grace,” I called after her. “Stay happy.”

Grace certainly set the tone for my day. I found what I was looking for and more . . . a smile that stayed with me the rest of the day.

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