I Love the Way You Love Me
Love has no color and it does not respect age; this I know, because my best buddy is a little fireball of a white child named Emma Lee. She’s eight years old now but we’ve been best buddies since she was two. No other love can compete with the love of a child.
If I leave this place and return to Atlanta, it will be because God honored the prayers of Ms. Emma Lee. Every day this little girl prays that her Grandma or Daddy will hit the lotto so she can buy me a house to return to her. She’s so bossy she just might convince God to do things her way.
I have been calling this child “Ms. Emma Lee” since I met her at her Grandmother’s yard sale six years ago when she was two years old. Now just about everyone else calls her that too, even her teacher at school.
Ms. Emma Lee has never understood that she is a child, she came into the world grown. When I met her, this two-year old little bundle of energy was riding her tricycle, bossing around her older cousins, five Jack Russell terriers and negotiating the price of the items on display at the yard sale. She was so cute, with her curly hair framing her face, ponytail swinging back and forth, country accent, and total command of the English language. I believe I was so drawn to her because she was so like my daughter Shellis at that age. (I called my child Ms. Ann and had to constantly remind her she was child, too.)
Give me a precocious child and I immediate go into a teaching mode. Their minds are razor-sharp. It’s like programming a computer. I try to input as much good information as I can into them. They can absorb it, they feed on information, they live to learn and I know that if I engage them at that age, I can plant good seed in good ground. I love it.
So I waited for Ms. Emma Lee to turn her attention to me. I didn’t have to wait too long. I knew that spending time with her Grandmother was motivation for her to come over and participate ( by this I mean “take over”) in our conversation. Once we locked horns that day, and Ms. Emma Lee recognized that I was a tree that she either had to cut down or climb to move, she and I became best buddies, we were inseparable up until the day I moved away.
A motherless child, with unlimited energy living with her grandmother and ailing father can take over a home unless definitive limits are established and rules respected and implemented. Ms. Emma Lee knew no limitations.
When someone enters my life, I know there’s a reason, a purpose that God intends for me to fulfill. My job as I perceived it was to prepare her for the real world were children knew how to be a child. To channel her energy and engage her mind with practical and constructive things that would not only occupy her time but give her life skills that would come in handy as time went by. Our time together was always a learning and training experience that I would masquerade as fun. By my calculations, I had three years to do this before she entered public school. If not, Ms. Emma Lee would be teaching the class with the teacher standing on the side lines wondering how this happened. Ms. Emma Lee was just that smart.
Baking cakes and cookies was a way to learn patience and cleanliness; arithmetic and time management. Operating a camera, she learned to respect the property of others, to view the world around her in a different light; to observe the changes in the seasons, the moon and the stars, and identify different animals and insects.
At my house, she learned there was a place for her toys, books and games. She learned that she alone would have to clean up after herself. A trip to the play area in the mall was exciting for Ms. Emma Lee. She loved children, especially babies. I would watch as she learned to wait patiently for another to take their turn on the rides. She would run back to me when things did not go her way on the playground and another opportunity to learn a life lessons presented itself.
In return, Ms. Emma Lee gives me the kind of love that only a child can give. Unconditional..we love each other because we do. Simply, easily, beyond color, beyond age, just because.
We are best buddies. Ask her who her best buddy is. She’ll tell you. Now, six years later, we write to and telephone each other. When I go back to Atlanta we have an opportunity to be together, it’s a time of sharing and caring, laughing and hugging.
The harmony of life is made up of the memories. we hold dear. Ms Emma Lee and I have many memorable moments together. Our lives are intrinsically bound together. She can not past my former home unless the memories of our time together replay in her mind. I can not hear country music without recalling that country accent of a little white girl.
Our favorite song is a country tune by John Michael Montgomery.
You should see us together; a black woman and a white child, two peas in a pod singing his song to each other, at the top of our lungs.