Sheridan’s Compass

sweet-3406860_640The following essay was written almost seven years ago; yet, all of the characteristics that made my niece Sheridan exceptional then still hold true today as she turns fourteen. And I’m sure those  traits will only strengthen over the years, making her a constant joy to everyone who knows her! Happy birthday, Sheridan!


Sheridan’s Compass (written during the fall of 2011)

“Turn right, Aunt Erin,” seven-year-old Sheridan said.

She wore a black leotard, matching leggings, a filmy ballet skirt, and cowboy boots—or “cowgirl boots” as she called them. Ballet slippers dangled from her fingers; her hair escaped from a messy ponytail. She was on her way—Sheridan style—to ballet class.

“I mean,” Sheridan clarified, “turn my right.”

I hesitated. We sat side by side—she in the passenger seat, me in the driver’s seat. Her right was my right. What was I missing? ballet-shoes-2326987_640.jpg

She turned to me, blinked once–blue eyes, black lashes, a flutter of day and night. I didn’t question her directions, her misunderstanding of the term “my right.” I simply turned the truck, following Sheridan’s GPS, her way of seeing the road.

I’ve learned from experience that Sheridan’s internal compass often leads to a better place—even if you’ve been there before—and sometimes it’s best to just let her take you there.

A simple game of tag evolves into Cartwheel Tag. We never quite decided whether the tagger or tagee should be cartwheeling, but both ways ended in confusion and plenty of laughs, particularly at my attempts to cartwheel.

Or a bike ride to town transforms into an outing for root-beer floats with Sheridan, on her single-speed bicycle, always ready to tackle hills and singing B-I-N-G-O with Uncle Keith as she peddles along.

One Christmas, using her new tablet as a camera, Sheridan filmed the Snowman Video. A stuffed snowman took the starring role with Sheridan as interviewer.

“How’s it going?” she asked Mr. Snowman.

“Pretty good,” Mr. Snowman said in a deep, gravelly voice.

She used the same tablet to document The Many Faces of Sheridan, a tableau of close-up photographs, which grew into an autobiographical mini-documentary of Sheridan through several days of late December and into early January. All the photos shared two things: a hint of mischief and a literal twinkle in Sheridan’s eye, the look of someone planning fun, thinking of the next activity.

watercolour-2159970_640So I don’t question Sheridan when she says, “turn right, my right.” Even if it appears that our rights are the same, hers is bound to have a twist, a way of approaching life that is more original, more energetic… just more of everything. I simply turn the wheel and follow her lead, knowing the experience will be better for letting her take me there.

6 thoughts on “Sheridan’s Compass

    • Erin May 25, 2018 / 4:39 pm

      Thanks, Sandy–she’s definitely a cute kid! Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

      Like

  1. Katie Kilcullen May 25, 2018 / 11:48 am

    Hi Erin,
    Great to read. I would like to get in touch with your mom as we were great friends when Stan and Bob were with Chicago and for years after. Would you give her my email so we could connect again. Hope she is doing well. Katie Kilcullen

    Liked by 1 person

    • Erin May 25, 2018 / 4:37 pm

      Thanks, Katie. So nice to hear from you and I will certainly forward your email address to my Mom. Take care!

      Like

    • Erin May 28, 2018 / 4:08 pm

      What a lovely thing to write! And I’m sure you would if you knew her (in addition to all the qualities I wrote about, she and sisters used to keep several chickens!).

      Liked by 1 person

I love comments... Tell me what you think...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s