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Friday, 11 January 2008

Raw talent

A plaster-dripping builder came into the hairdressing salon in which I sat having my hair cut last night and asked for a grade 1 head shave. After making a few severely un-politically correct comments which I shall not repeat here, he turned and noticed my six year old daughter, Eden, sitting quietly in the corner drawing pictures with her felt tipped pens. "What've we got 'ere then?" he asked, "Is this a babysitters or a hairdressers?" We politely informed him that Eden was my daughter. "Ah! Drawing are we?" he enquired of Eden. "You draw a picture of me and I'll give you a paaand". Eden promptly drew a picture of a rather grubby man in a stripy T-shirt with no hair, and handed it over. "Brilliant, love!" he exclaimed, and handed over a shiny new pound coin. Eden was clearly delighted with this exchange; even more so when I allowed her to buy a bottle of Ribena and some Tooty Frooties with her new found gains on the way home. As I tucked her into bed later, she wondered whether she "might be an artist one day, and sell her paintings for money."
"Maybe you will" I replied. "I was really proud of the way you behaved this evening, Eden," I continued. "You behaved really nicely while we were at the hairdressers. And I think you are really talented, too".
"What are my talents, Mummy?" she asked, innocently (I'm pretty sure she hasn't learned to fish for compliments - yet).
"Well, you're great at drawing, and dancing, and writing, and running, and reading... and you're really funny and charming," I said.
"I think you're really talented, too, Mummy," she commented dreamily.
"Really?" I replied.
"Yes," she answered. "You're talented at cooking, and tidying up, and looking after your kids, and telling stories, and drawing, and being nice, and working on the computer. And you're really good at dressing!" (I'm not sure if she means this last in the Trinny and Suzannah sense or the being-able-to-do-up-all-my-own-buttons sense).
I know she's only six. I know she doesn't know any better. I know she still thinks I'm the best person in the world. And yes, yes, I know it won't last. But it's still great when you feel like most of the time you're doing everything so badly and yet someone who really matters says you are not. And it's the tops simply to be loved so unconditionally it hurts.

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