Keep Asking, Keep Playing

Today, we went to the coffee shop. The one down the street, where the walls are painted with beanstalks and houses made of shoes. There you like to climb wooden steps and fly down metallic slides. 

You stood and watched the children carefully. The older girl with the long blonde ponytail and the dark-haired boy with the snotty nose. They were playing a game in a small plastic house.

“Mama, I want to play with dem.” I smiled at you over my notebook and nodded. “You may. Go say hello and tell them your name.”

I watched you walk over. You glanced back at me with lovely, slate-colored eyes and I met them with reassurance. “Can I play with you guys?” I overheard you ask softly. “I’m Effie…” she trailed off shyly. 

Neither of the children looked at you.

My heart fell into my stomach and I went to you. I kneeled and put my arm around your sparrow shoulders. I turned to the boy with the snotty nose.

“Hi! I'm Anna and this is Effie! May we please come in your house?”

The boy shut the playhouse door in my face. “No. The door is locked.” He said.

“May I please come in?” you asked.

“No. The door is locked.”

You turned. I kissed the powdery spot on your head between your sprouting pigtails.

"That was so kind of you to ask, dolly.” I cupped your milky cheeks. Your bottom lip drooped and your eyebrows knit together.

“You are the most loving friend, Persephone. Sometimes people won't want to play, and that's okay. Remember that it is a treat to be with you. Anyone who doesn't want to play with you is missing out on you and your fun. Keep asking, keep playing. You are wonderful. I am the luckiest to get to play with you everyday. Thank you. I love you.”