Any one who knows my youngest daughter, Pippa, knows she is a character. She is outrageously funny. She can be a little saucy. She has the best giggle and a really fast wit. She has me laughing out loud daily. She also doesn’t care at all if you don’t like her and she will never try to impress a stranger.
Last year in Portugal at the parent teacher meeting at school, her teacher told me she really wished Pippa would come out of her shell. She said Pippa rarely spoke. She certainly never made jokes or laughed in school at all. I was shocked; like knock me on the ground shocked. The girl she was describing was not my daughter. I could hardly wait to see Pippa and ask her why she behaved so differently at school. My mind was racing. Was she being bullied? Was she scared? Was she friendless? She had been home schooled for awhile, so I started thinking I might have made her a freak.
I questioned Pippa when we got home and her answer surprised me. She said, “mom, school is for learning. I don’t want to get in trouble for talking. I talk enough at home.” Let me be clear, I spent most of my life in elementary school in trouble for talking too much. I was put under the piano in kindergarten to think about my behavior. I just thought, “my teacher is mean.” I never stopped talking. My tap dancing teacher in third grade said I had verbal diarrhea. I was disgusted by her description, but it didn’t deter me.
I thought Pippa might want to make friends by being funny. She could certainly be the next Mrs. Maisel, but she doesn’t care. I think she might have a little fear of getting in trouble, but mostly because she wouldn’t want to miss recess, for what? Chatting to some kids…no thanks. When she meets people she quietly assesses the situation and them. Almost like Anne Shirley, from “Anne of Green Gables,” wanted a bosom friend, Pippa is on the lookout for bosom friends. When she finds them, she comes alive.
I will admit, I wish I was more discerning. I need to be like Pippa and take my time. To listen and pay attention to the people who will be my bosom friends. I really wish the world could meet the hilarious daughter I keep at home, but she’s not interested in impressing the masses and for now, I am realizing how lucky I am not to have to share.