The Race

by cindy

The Peanut is an independent young thing. Smart and funny, feisty and adventurous and fearless, she is as strong-willed as any two-year-old I have ever known.

That the Peanut can be described this way is pretty much a given: she comes from long lines of ‘Strong and Independent’ women on both sides of her family. (I’m going to include myself in that category because, well, I’m the one telling the story. If I were honest, however, I would place myself at the head of a category titled ‘STUBBORN’ and leave it at that.)

It thrills me to see young girls with these characteristics. I believe they bode well for their future making it critically important to encourage and sustain such attributes. The world is difficult to navigate. I cannot imagine what the dynamics will be when the Peanut is grown but I sure want her to be tough enough to handle whatever may come.

While on a recent visit to Chicago, the Peanut and I spent a delightful morning at the neighborhood park. There were multiple sets of swings and slides as well as several kinds of climbing equipment.


On one such apparatus, a small fort, there were two ways to access the slide. One way involved a chain-and-rubber version of a rope ladder; the other involved hoisting oneself up onto each of several platforms. Neither way was particularly easy but the challenge clearly was worth the trip down that slide.


The Peanut made several trips up to the top, each time choosing to use the platforms. She hiked her little legs up and over the edges, never once seeking my assistance. After a few minutes, a young boy slightly older than she joined our fun. The two of them cheerfully went up and down several times, taking turns and sharing the equipment with ease.

At the conclusion of one such trip, the little boy suddenly, inexplicably, announced, “I win! I WIN!” And as he did, he bolted over to the rope ladder and hurriedly began to scramble up. The Peanut took one look at this and without a word headed toward the platforms.

Clearly a race was on.

The boy tackled the rope ladder with a flourish, continuing to shout his little mantra.

The Peanut quietly but efficiently propelled herself onto the platforms, each one higher than the one before.

With lighting speed, the Peanut was sitting at the top of the slide. Sitting and waiting for her playmate to catch up. She said nothing as she waited. Actually, she had said nothing from the time he arrived. And now, she didn’t need to. She simply waited for him to reach the top and sit down behind her.

And when he did, she smiled.

After that last slide, I guess she had nothing more to prove so she led me away to other parts of the park. When her mother later joined us at the swings, the Peanut decided then to announce her success:


Strong. Independent. Tough. That’s my girl!


Oh, Peanut Sugar Pie. I do love you so.