Playground Showdown

Aria arrived home from school just after 3 p.m. as per usual. She ran up the stairs to go to her room but found Leliana in the hallway; she had just put Sophia down for her afternoon nap. Aria was happy to see her mother and pounced on her and squeezed tight.

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“Hello, Princess Aria! How was school?” Leliana squeezed back and rocked her from side to side.

Aria ripped herself away. “It was great,” she yelled with her hands in the air.

“Oh? Tell me all about it.”

“We had a contest and I won!” Aria was practically jumping up and down.

“Oh my! That’s wonderful! What was this contest?”

“A monkey bar contest, duh! I mean, I am THE greatest monkey bar crosser there is, mommy.”

Leliana loved her daughter’s confidence. Even though she favored her father in that way, she reminded her of herself when she was that age being so bold and unpolished.

Aria continued. “The contest was to see who could go across the monkey bars five times the fastest. Sylas was going to try, but when he saw I was doing it he backed out. He’s smart and recognizes a champion when he sees one.”

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Leliana knew she shouldn’t have laughed, but she thought her daughter was hilarious.

“I asked him to hold my phone, and he recorded the whole thing! Wanna see?”

“Of course!”

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Leliana watched the playground showdown while Aria critiqued the other kids’ skills.

“You’re so fast, Aria! Look at you go!”

“Yeah. I type the fastest too!”

“Well aren’t you full of all kinds of wonderful gifts!”

“Uh huh! Will you buy me a present?”

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“Maybe,” Leliana said. She was definitely proud of her daughter but didn’t want to give her the impression that she should be rewarded for every little thing she does. “What did you have in mind?”

“Blarffy?” She turned her head and put her hands up as if she were expecting to be struck. Leliana definitely was not pleased at this request.

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“Aria! We’ve been through this!”

“I know! I know! It’s not for me though! It’s for Sophia!”

Sophia? You cannot cast blame this on your sister, Aria! You know better than to ask me about this.”

“But mommy! I told her that she couldn’t be Uni’s friend and that daddy would buy her Drago. But then she started crying because she’s afraid of dragons! She wants Blarffy, mommy!”

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Leliana told Aria she would think about it. It’s not that she was moved by Aria’s story. Actually, she thought it was quite hilarious that Aria believed her baby sister could communicate with her. She recognized that her daughter was innocent and didn’t know about her past and therefore did not understand why this request keeps rubbing her the wrong way. More importantly, it was a reminder that she cannot hide from the past forever. At some point she would need to face it head on and move forward.

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