I can only imagine what was going through my daughter Elsie’s head when the urge hit her.
It was during the middle of softball practice. She was holding onto to second base, eager to head into third.
And like most five-year-olds, her mind was racing and wandering anywhere than where it was supposed to be that humid evening.
She wasn’t really interested in who was at bat. The dirt around her base would make a fantastic sandcastle. The bird above her needed to be watched. The grass surrounding the infield needed to be thrown in the air like pixie dust.
But I wasn’t expecting her to do what she did next.
I was on the other side of the park, watching my oldest son James in the batting cage. I felt a tug on my shirt, only to see Elsie looking up at me with her big blue eyes.
“Momma, can I buy a drink,” she asked, sweetly.
After money was handed to her, Elsie skipped her way to the concession stand where an ice cold Sprite had her name on it.
Going back to watch James, I assumed she would return after she got her drink.
Minutes later, her coach approached me.
“Where is Elsie,” he asked.
“She went to get a drink,” I replied. “What? Is practice not over.”
With a grin, her coach informed that, yes, practice was still ongoing.
I began to search for Elsie amidst the crowd of sno-coned lipped children and exhausted parents. And there she was...taking her time with a drink pressed against her lips.
“Elsie,” I said. “Get back on the field. Practice isn’t over. You just don’t just leave when you want to.”
Handing me her drink, Elsie rushed back to her abandoned second base.
“What was she thinking,” I thought to myself.
But...that’s my Elsie. She marches to the beat of her own drum.
This was the same girl who dressed herself in a ballerina outfit for picture day. She’s the kind who insists cowgirl boots for ball practice is acceptable. She insists that ice cream sandwiches do make for good school lunches. And every “bad” thing she does is merely “an accident.” Her father sometimes actually seems to buy it when she tells him she “was accidentally bad today at school.”
And has she does these quirky little things, she adds her own mark to them that make it all the more sweet.
That ballerina outfit? She picked my work clothes out that day and selected her Minnie Mouse bow that I could wear in my hair.
Those cowboy boots? She left them by my bed after I complained I couldn’t find my house slippers.
Ice cream sandwich lunches? Although it melted and irked me a little, she left me one in my purse for breakfast.
And that day at ball practice, she transformed second base into a shortstop position. But she later delivered a flower to my hand from the outfield. She had held onto it through the entire practice to give it away as a gift.
Sure, Elsie marches to the beat of her own drum, like many children.
But the tune couldn’t be any sweeter.