Daddy loves walking little Natalie to school, because she is well-rested, well-fed and brimming with lessons learned. Here is what she told me on our last walk:
"The United States of America is a boiling pot!"
Or is it a melting pot?
"Oh, right. It's a melting pot."
At the entrance to the school, we pause, we hug and she runs in with the other little children of Metuchen, melting away together into a cute little class.
Recently, we left school while another little girl was holding hands with her mother. They engaged us in conversation, but Natalie wasn't interested in chit-chat pleasantries. She stared at the ground, like our shy little girl. I found out the little girl's name is Summer, and she's in Natalie's class. Apparently, Natalie had written Summer a note, which was well received.
I looked at Natalie's face for confirmation. Head down. No expression.
But as soon as little Summer and her guardian disappeared around the corner of the school, Natalie turned excited and blurted: "Daddy, can we have Summer over to our house?!" Then her little mind scanned ahead and entered detail-oriented-planning mode: "We'll ask Mommy how long she can stay."
Later, Natalie writes me a note. "Dear Daddy, You are very nice to me. So draw me a picture any time. Or if you like, I can draw you a picture."
There is a picture at the bottom of her note. Three figures labeled "You," "me" and "Summer."