The little boy lived next door to us for about two years. He was just shy of five when he and his mother moved in with our neighbor, and we moved away just before he turned seven. His name was Ryan.
Ryan was one of those kids who is full of energy and cannot seem to find enough outlets to expend that energy. His daily routine included the sad faces from the kindergarten teacher, for some offense, and his sad face when he explained to us his failure to achieve the happy face. Nevertheless, for whatever reason, this little guy thought John and I were the best thing since sliced bread. Almost every day, after he saw me drive into the garage, returning from work, he’d ring the doorbell, and ask if either John or I could “play.”
One day, I was playing in the yard with Ryan, teaching him how to stand on his head. I have had this little skill in my repertoire since I was about four years old, so, to me it is second nature. I carefully demonstrated the method, as my father had taught me. With the crown of my head on the ground, and my arms, each bent gently at the elbow, hands flat on the ground and forming a “tripod” with my head, I rested my knees on my elbows, and paused. Then I slowly raised my legs, stretching and pointing my toes (in good form of course) to complete my headstand. Ryan was impressed. “How long you gonna stay upside down?” he asked. I laughed and told him that I could stay that way for quite some time, as I was comfortably balanced. He did not believe me.
Show-off that I am, I decided to lower my legs and put them into the lotus position, still upside down on my head. “Hey!” said Ryan, “how can you do that without your hands?” I laughed, and rolled down out of my lotus headstand, into a sitting position without taking my legs out of the lotus position.
Ryan stared at me….I KNEW what he was thinking. He was thinking I was so nimble and talented….he would want to do the same thing. “Miss Judy,” he started, a look of alarm taking over his sweet face, “you have PAINT in your hair!!!” What? What was this kid talking about? He was SUPPOSED to be impressed with my gymnastic prowess, and he is worried about PAINT in my hair?
I felt my hair and there was no paint…and then it dawned on me. As I sat on the ground, Ryan was actually taller than was I. He was looking at the top of my head, no doubt to determine whether my antics had caused my head to go flat or something, when he spied my WHITE HAIR!!! LOL.
I explained to Ryan that I did not have paint in my hair, but I DID have some white hair…I was getting old….he stared at me in disbelief. “No,” he decide, you have paint in your hair. And with that, my little buddy took his leave, heading in to eat supper and, no doubt to tell his mother about Miss Judy, who stands on her head in white paint. I suppose that was HIS reality. No matter how many times I might try to convince him what he wanted to believe was not true, he still believed…because it fit him more comfortably than to accept that which WAS reality.