This is a story about my son and his 13-month-old daughter going to the clinic for her flu shot booster. We have nicknamed her Miss Sunshine. It sounds better than saying she working the charm offensive. (More)

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

When my son and his daughter checked in they went to the waiting area. Also waiting were an elderly couple, the man being in a wheelchair. Maddie walked over to the couple and focused on the man. She smiled and pulled on his leg. Eventually she crawled up and sat in his lap. My son asked if this was okay and the wife assured him that it was fine. Maddie then turned to her dad and said, “Dada, book.” She handed the book to the old man and smiled. “You read now.”

He started reading to her and she snuggled in. When my son looked at the wife she had tears in her eyes. He asked if she was okay and she told him she was fine. Her husband has Alzheimer’s and this was the most present he’d been in a couple of years. She said she thought he thought that Maddie was his daughter. They had kids but no grandchildren. She was just marveling that her husband was briefly back to being the man she knew.

Also watching this encounter were the nursing staff. After Maddie had gotten her flu shot booster and came back to the waiting room, a nurse took my son aside and said they had all been watching. His daughter was a gift to both the man and his wife. They had been watching him for years and never seen him so engaged or so present. They jokingly asked if he could bring her back as kind of the clinic equivalent of the Walmart greeter.

My son replied that she was at peak charm but that if tired or hungry, she was definitely not charming. She was a typical little toddler. Highs and lows.

The nurses said that she might have a future in therapy. My son said that her mom was a therapist and maybe that would be enough to head her towards engineering or accounting. The nurses laughed but said the daughter had a gift with people. Maddie crawled back up on the old man’s lap and gave him a hug before they left. She then said, “Bye bye” and blew him a kiss. The old man waved bye, bye and blew her a kiss back.


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