Susan and I took our daughter to the farmer’s market at The Grove today. It’s an outdoor mall that oddly reminds me of a cross between Vegas and a movie set. Admittedly, it can be incredibly cheesy and touristy and crowded. But I always feel romantic and happy when I’m there. It’s like Disneyland; nothing can go wrong at The Grove. There is fake snow in the winter so that we LA folk can experience a “true” holiday season. Every 30 minutes or so, a fountain water show erupts, choreographed perfectly to the dreamy songs playing over the speakers. Today, The Grove was especially charming. The three of us, dancing around to the music, bopping along with Sophia on my shoulders, making a mess in the Pottery Barn Kids because we could. It was a “perfect” day. I remember in my 2 and half years in the making of Sophia being sad and bitter that I didn’t have a Baby Bjorn to flaunt, while sipping my latte at the fabulous Grove. I would make fun of those people in my head but envy them in my heart. Now here I was with my toddler enjoying the simple life of an afternoon shopping. It was pure joy.
We went to the farmer’s market and had some dinner, all of us eating from different restaurants, a true perk when you’re married to a vegetarian. We ate –or, rather, tried to eat –while Sophia raced around the tables, babbling to the tourists. Now that she can get around, we can really only do outdoor restaurants; it’s just not worth it otherwise. My shoulders are up to my ears, I’m stuffing food in my mouth and every time I say “never again”. Susan and I split a beer today; it cuts the edge off not being able to have an intimate conversation over dinner. After we ate, I took Sophia into the market to pick out a little toy. She, of course, raced over to the rubber ducks. There were all kinds to choose from: yellow, pink, red, small ducks, very large ducks, ducks dressed in surfer outfits, the list goes on. Sophia pushed her fingers through all of them and after much contemplation picked the one lone black duck tucked in the back corner of the overstuffed box. She handed it to me with a huge smile. “Duck”. I was so proud of my Aquarian daughter; she picked the one duck that didn’t look like any of the others. I took it to the cash register. “We’ll take this duck please”. The woman said “did she pick that?” “Yep.” And then she grimaced and shook her head. What a shame, that a salesclerk would have an opinion about the color duck that my daughter chose. What a strange world we live in that we are so offended by things being different. It’s beautiful to experience the world through Sophia’s eyes. She celebrates everything no matter the color, the size, or the shape. She sees the world the way we should all see it: as a place to learn and experience and get to know. I can only hope that I preserve that essence in her.