“I’ll be famous,” she said, twirling and eyeing her reflection in the mirror. She was wearing a particularly twirl-worthy skirt and a shiny pair of sandals.
“Yep, famous,” she repeated with finality. She spun a few more times then stopped mid-turn to face me. “Do you know what famous means?”
I raised an eyebrow in half-query, half-invitation. Children’s explanations are immensely more informing than anything I might attempt to guess at.
“It means everybody knows you and everybody likes you a lot.”
“It does?” I lent a slight undulation to my voice in what I hoped was just a smidge of challenge for the second part.
She’s a perceptive little one. She caught it. Paused. Frowned. Pursed her lips and pursed them again in front of the mirror to inspect the effect. “Well, everybody knows famous people,” she countered and puckered her lips a few more times to make a point. “But … maybe not everybody likes them?”
I smiled and raised my eyebrow again.
She straightened and crossed the room to lean into me. “Because some famous people can be bad?”
I wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “Some. Sometimes people get famous but not for very good things.”
She nodded into my side. “Like Hitler and … you know?”
“Yes. Hitler … and some other people … are known for doing very very bad things.”
“I don’t want to be that kind of famous.”
I gave her a squeeze. “I understand. I wouldn’t worry … You are nothing like that … You have a beautiful, loving, caring heart. It’s not a bad thing to want to be famous. Most famous people aren’t bad. Most people in general aren’t bad. Famous and not famous ones.”
She leaned into me a moment longer. She knows hardship. Young as she is, the pain of cruel actions isn’t abstract to her.
I took a deep breath to remind her she was safe. She followed. Took another. Shook the pensive worry off and looked down into her magnificently twirl-worthy skirt.
“Well,” she stood and made a quick half-turn, watching the edges of the fabric lift and roil and dance and fly. “I’ll be the good kind of famous.” She walked back to the full-length mirror to reinspect her reflection. “The beautiful heart kind …”
For The Daily Post