Tonight I went to an outdoor concert with my mom and her friend. It was a bring your own folding chair kind of event, but we of course did not get the memo (we also arrived fifteen minutes late). Instead, we sat in the grass where a few other people were as well. The grass was dry and therefore a bit scratchy. A few songs in, a father and his two young children arrived and sat down next to us.
“This grass is itchy,” a voice spoke beside me.
I turned to the little girl and said, “It is isn’t it? But you can here sit on the cement.”
She responded frankly saying, “You’re cool.”
“Thank you,” I said, pleased and thinking to myself that would never happen with an adult.
“You’re welcome,” she said.
All I had done was listen and give a suggestion. I kicked off my flip flops and tuned into the jazz music that was being performed. I noticed that as the girl next to me began to situate herself, she sat close to me and took off her flip flops very deliberately. I smiled , thinking I have a new friend.
This little girl picked up a dandelion that was shriveled up and began taking it apart. She set the seeds in her hand and blew, watching the seeds land in the grass a few feet away.
“Did you make a wish?” I asked.
Then began about twenty minutes of the same little moment over and over again. We would find little dandelions in the grass and take them apart so she could blow them out of her hand. Sometimes I would put the white fluff from the dandelion in my hand, and she would blow them away. Other times she would set them in her hand and blow them away. Then she would hold them in her hand and let me blow them away. When we ran out of dandelions within reaching distance of where we were sitting I began to pull out the clover. I had such great fun watching this little girl get so much enjoyment out of such a small thing.
She asked me what my name was. I momentarily paused to think about what name I should tell her. Should I tell her my first name Jessie which is simple and generally no other questions are asked, or FuChai which is what I’ve been called most of my life. I chose the latter. And with the acceptance of a child, she didn’t miss a beat and said, “that’s a cool name.”
I then asked her for hers. “Jayda,” she answered. (I’m not sure how to spell it, but immediately I thought it was beautiful name).
“How old are you.”
“Are you in school.”
“I went to preschool.”
After some time had passed and we ran out of plants close by, Jayda asked her dad if she could go get more plants to blow. I think her dad must’ve said no, but he realized his kids were getting restless so he took Jayda and her younger brother across the lawn. Just as she was getting up and putting on her flip flops to go with her dad and brother, she handed me a dandelion and said, “here hold onto this.”
Maybe it’s just the music that made me think more about children and their wonderful innocence. Music seems to amplify certain moments in life. I sat there thinking about how children make you realize what is so wonderful about life. They make you appreciate the little things in life. They don’t need a ton of things to make them happy, just a friend to play with and a parent to watch over them. They can find enjoyment with almost anything.
I watched Jayda and her brother roll down the hill, chase after a red ball, and run around. It seemed to me that Jayda wanted to come back to where I was sitting, but her dad didn’t want her to go that far, even though I was sitting within sight. As I watched, I held onto the dandelion until the stem softened in the heat of my hand. When I realized that she wasn’t going to be coming back I tossed the dandelion back in the grass.
As the performers prepared to perform their final songs, I was getting stiff and wanted to walk around. My mom came with me and we walked around a bit. As we were walking down a path heading toward the river I turned around. The sun was shining right into my eyes and I could make out the silhouette of Jayda and her brother each holding one of their father’s hand walking to the parking lot. I gave a little wave goodbye. She didn’t turn around, but I smiled anyway.