Emma gave me a rock today. It's warm enough that the snow has started to melt off the porch, so while I finished my lunch, she toddled about on the wood planks, eagerly babbling and waving her bunny about.
She found the rock and walked up to me, held it up to me with big blue hopeful eyes. I took it and said thank you, held it my chest for a moment and then tried to hand it back to her. She almost looked hurt. My first gift from her and I think I biffed it. Dang.
Every time I have worked with children they do this. Walk up to you, hold out their fists and give you some prize, a crumpled flower, a twig, some treasure that they have found. I have left playgrounds with pockets full of rock gifts from children. I don't know why they do this, why they are so compelled to give you their little discoveries. The ultimate altruism of a child. They share their little new worlds with you, and of course all we see is a rock to be thrown away when they are not looking.
Later in the day Emma walked up and handed me a bottle cap. I took it, and said thank you. Maybe it's a lesson in learning to accept love on other people's terms. You take the expression of love that people can give you. My daughter can't wrap her arms my neck and say, 'I love you,' but she can hand me the rock that she just found.
Mostly I am just pleasantly surprised to see her giving away things, instead of insisting that everything is hers. I love that we are ever entering into a new stage of development with her. She's walking, and starting to talk, and now she's sharing.
Maybe I'll save up all these gifts from her and when she's a teenager and acting uber-selfish I will whip out this box of rocks and twigs and yell, 'See you used to GIVE things away!' No, I kid, but can you imagine? That might be awesome.
A sweetness that I will not discourage. I am going to count it as her first Valentine to me! Because right now I'll take what I can get!