“Hey, Mrs. Dunwap!” yelled little Patrick (not his real name, for reasons that will soon be obvious) from across the grocery store checkout line.
Patrick is my friend’s son, a beautiful, wide-eyed little 3-year-old with a fantastic speech impediment I hope he never outgrows.
“Hey, Patrick,” I said as I swiped my credit card. “How was Christmas? Did you get lots of presents?”
His face lit up. “It was gweat! Santa didn’t bwing me a puppy, but I got a wemote contwol twuck. And you know what?” He continued without letting me answer. “I got to go to Wichita fo Chwistmas and wide in my Gwampa’s WHEE-YO-CHAY-YO!”
“Wow! A ride in your Grandpa’s wheelchair!” I replied in an effort to both match his enthusiasm and confirm what he had just told me.
Patrick was on a roll. He was so excited he could hardly contain himself. My groceries were bagged and in the cart, so I drove my cart closer to Patrick, who had attracted a small audience by this point.
“Yeah! And it’s a AUTOMATIC one!” he yelled with glee, clapping his hands and laughing.
“An automatic one?” I smiled back at him, “How cool!”
“Yeah!” He bounced around in the seat of his cart, delighted to share his good news. His mother, however, seemed nervous.
“You wanna know why I got to wide in the AUTOMATIC whee-yo-chay-yo?” he asked, about to burst.
“Oh, no, here it comes,” she mumbled as she smiled at me, grabbing the cart handle and speeding us along to the exit.
Unfortunately we were not out the door when Patrick shared this next part.
“I POOPED IN THE POTTY FO-AH TIMES!” he shouted with pride for all to hear.
Unfazed by the personal nature of his announcement, and knowing how much my friend had hoped this accomplishment would one day be reached, I joined in Patrick’s celebration.
“FOUR TIMES?” I said, dropping my jaw for emphasis.
“FO-AH TIMES!” he squealed. “The fohst one was HUGE!” he exclaimed, holding his hands apart for visual effect.
My friend smiled at me and explained, “It had been almost a week; he had a lot to unload.”
But Patrick wasn’t through. “The next one was —”
“And now Patrick isn’t afraid of the potty anymore!” she cheerfully interrupted through a tight grin, jumping directly ahead to the end of his play-by-play.
It took all I had to stifle the laughter, but as I walked to the car my New Year’s resolution came to me: to celebrate every achievement in 2010, no matter how HUGE or insignificant, with the same enthusiasm Patrick had, though perhaps not always in public.