March 4, 2024

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It’s been another challenging week. My mom and my brother-in-law both had surgery today, and my brother-in-law has more surgeries to come tomorrow and over the weekend. Things are looking pretty serious for him. We all really appreciate your prayers.

This evening, Joe, Gracie, and I went out for dinner with my dad and sister while they waited for my mother surgery to be finished. We didn’t go anywhere fancy, just a local diner that we all like.

We sat down, ordered our drinks, and visited. While Grace was harassing my sister, I grabbed her crayon roll, Elmo coloring book, and Playdoh out of the diaper bag. While we talked, I made the Playdoh into four big balls.

Pappy, catch!” Gracie squealed, grabbing one of the balls and throwing it at my dad.

First of all, she has never said catch before, or not that I’ve heard. I was shocked that she said it. It was perfectly clear, as if I’d said it myself.

Secondly, she threw the ball perfectly, right into his hands. She’s still young and uncoordinated, and not normally very good at throwing things.

My dad, sister, Joe, and I just looked at each other. “Catch?” one of us said. Catch, she repeated a few times.

My dad teased Grace by telling her that the Playdoh was blue. “Ornge,” she told him. He tried several other colors, but she was undeterred, continuing to insist that it was ornge. It was orange, for the record.

And then something happened that stunned all four of us. When I say it stunned us, I mean that we were so taken aback that we all just looked at each other and laughed while Gracie played, totally unaware that she just accomplished something big.

One ball, two ball, sree ball, four ball,” she said, pointing at one ball at a time.

She counted the Playdoh balls. And she kept counting them. One, two, sree, four. Sree ball. Two ball. She played and counted the balls for several minutes.

I was starting to feel a little smug about how brilliant my child is. I was planning our advanced schooling in my head, and her early admission to MIT. And then she stood up and started licking the mirror on the wall behind us, reminding us that she is just another a normal 21-month-old kid. MIT might have to wait.

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