Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Daring to be a Watermelon Head by Lee Ann Story

My guest blogger for the next few Wednesdays is my dear friend, Lee Ann, who is a special columnist for the local paper as well as an editor at Sam's Dot Publishing.  Below is one of her columns.

Daring To Be A Watermelon Head

  I always talk about how much I admire my kids, but I also admire my nieces and nephews. They are all unique and each individual is so special with qualities that make him or her one-of-a-kind.
            However, this week I was particularly struck with awe over my youngest niece, Abby. Abby, when asked, will immediately inform everyone she is seven-and-a-half-years-old. And, Abby has always done her own thing pretty much right from birth. She is very much my sister Cressy’s daughter.
            Abby is sweet and affectionate, but also stubbornly individualistic – always has been. At times, this has been difficult. For instance, when Cressy, and her kids, came down to visit from Kentucky recently, Abby wanted to bring her two giant stuffed bunnies with her. Cressy advised her against it. Cressy has four kids. She drives a car, not a bus. Things were going to be crowded as it was without Abby bringing her two “friends” with her.
            Abby won. She got to bring her two bunny friends, crowding the back seat, much to her brother, Ben’s, irritation. Ben has never been an icon of patience. Abby knew her trip would be made better by having her bunnies. I have to admit … they’re cute bunnies. I can’t blame her. I’d have brought them, too.
            Abby says funny things, too. She states precisely what is on her mind. She’s extremely intelligent, like all of Cressy’s kids, and she is not afraid to express herself. I approached Cressy and Abby as Cressy was swinging Abby in a tire swing in my parent’s backyard. We all stood around and had a nice discussion about stuff like clothes, tire swings, dogs and all sorts of important stuff. My cell phone began to ring at that moment and it has an interesting musical ring tone. Abby heard it and wistfully said, “That music matches this moment.”
            My mother is a nurse and makes the cutest surgical caps, which she sometimes sells as a little side business. She makes the kind of skull-hugging caps like surgeons wear (for people with short hair) and she makes the bigger caps that resemble a shower cap or a chef’s hat that will completely cover longer hair. She uses fun patterns of material to make them. She allowed the kids to go through the caps and choose something they like. Ben chose a skull-hugging cap that had tiny frogs all over it. Abby chose a chef’s hat that had watermelons all over it.
            Later that same day, we all decided to go to a matinee at the movies. I met my sisters and their children over there. I was surprised to see that Abby was still wearing her watermelon surgical cap. “We tried to talk her out of it,” Cressy said, with a sigh, “but she won’t take it off. She looks like a chef.”
            “I like it,” Abby said.
            “Please, Mom. Make her take it off. This is so embarrassing,” said Cressy’s 14-year-old daughter, Lauren. I might want to mention at this moment that Lauren prefers a distinctive gothic look, replete with black nail polish, and everyone respects her preference.
            Abby’s brother, Matthew, had his own things to worry about and didn’t much care what Abby wore, but Ben was outraged. “I can’t believe she is going to wear that in to the movies,” Ben said … loudly … more than once.
            I will add, at this point in time, that Ben was still wearing his skull-hugging froggie cap, turned sideways. The strings that tie in the back were slapping his cheek with every turn of his head. I wondered if he had taken a peek in the mirror.
            “I like it,” Abby insisted.
            I had to admit, she wore it well. It looked cute on her.
            “Okay, watermelon head, let’s go in,” said Cressy, as she resigned to let Abby be herself. Abby was called “watermelon head” for the duration of the afternoon and it did not bother her or alter her decision one bit. She wore the cap to bed as she crowded out her mother with the two giant bunnies.
            I have to admire someone with so much spirit. She’s sensible, at that. She liked the hat. Few people are as brave or as completely confident enough in themselves to withstand the criticism of others. I have to admire Abby for daring to be a watermelon head. We should all have so much faith in following our own hearts. Go, Abby! Watermelon heads of the world, unite!


Reina said...

Hooray for Watermelon Heads! May she always keep such confidence and spunk. :)

Morpho Melinda said...

Lee Ann, Hoping to meet you in the coming week! Great post.