Monday, April 16, 2007

little big moment

One of the highlights of my week is Father-Daughter Day. Each week, Sage and I go out and spend time at a bookstore and a toy store and mix it up with visits to our pet store, the videoke, a resto, a dept store and so on.

I love taking my 5 year-old out because we get a chance to talk, make up wild stories and songs, try out food, critique toys and skip across the mall like a pair of loons, hurling imaginary stars into the air.

On our most recent FD Day, we chose the new Bestsellers over at Robinsons Galleria as our bookstore of the week. I told Sage to stay in the children's book section while I half-trawled the nearby areas (half-trawled because I'd look in on her every minute or so to see if she had in fact agreed to go home with some other father - "Dad," she'd tell me wearily, "I'd never leave with some other child's father.").

ME: Go ahead and pick out some books to read.

SAGE: Ok, Dad.

ME: I'll be around.

She selected several books from the lower shelves and plopped down in a corner. Every time I checked in with her, I found her studiously reading aloud. I wanted to see if she was actually reading so I finally sat down next to her.

ME: What are you reading?

SHE: Tiny Tim.

ME: Is it good?

SHE: Dad! I'm reading. I'm not finished yet.

ME: Read for me, nga.

SHE: (sighs) Ok, Dad.

And she did, with amazing speed and precison, stopping only to sound out the letters of words that were completely new to her (English is quite the unfair language, with more exceptions than rules), and confirming with me if she got it right.

In that whirlwind of recitation, I was lost in the sound of my daughter's voice. I was so proud of her. I knew she could already read but I thought it was more isolated words or a story that was previously read to her. But this time, with those books on the floor, every story was new, previously unheard by her. And with no help or prompting from me, except to correct pronunciation.

In the middle of the story, she looked up at me after reading the last word on the page, her eyes bright with wonder.

SAGE: Dad! He got turned into a big meatball! This is so funny!

I laughed along with her, sharing the absurd thought of people who turn into food, and watched her turn to the next page.

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