Introverted Invitation

My soft spoken princess–She took 9 months, 5 days and 36 hours to come into this world. I tell her now that before she came into my belly, she was sitting next to God, looking down from heaven, choosing her mami and papi. And she took a long time to make her decision. We went through 3 years of fertility drugs until we finally had Y in our arms.

 

To this day, she takes her time doing most things. Putting on clothes, brushing her teeth, eating her food, going to the bathroom. And it drives me crazy. I am a non-stop-fast-paced -multi-tasker. There is no doubt that God knew what he was doing when he paired us up. The extra-extroverted mom and the observant-introverted daughter. We are both learning our lessons. Maybe me more than her at this point.

 

Every job I’ve ever had has been one revolving around people and conversation: hostess at Bennigan’s, sales at The Limited, Spanish tutor and translator, video-jockey, reporter, and meteorologist. Now in my greatest job of all, I am learning the most valuable lessons from my 5.5 year-old daughter. She invites me to slow down, enjoy the silence, just hold hands and walk without talking, do one thing at a time.

 

I’m reading the fantastic book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. It’s making me look at everything through a different lens. I think I’m getting to understand my daughter better than ever. Since she was a baby, she’s preferred my arms rather than a strangers. She observes before interacting. She likes to listen and not talk. Laugh and not tell the joke. Get candy without running to the piΓ±ata. Have her birthday cake without a song. And I’m sure she loves gymnastics because she doesn’t have to talk.

 

We were at the grocery store just the other day and an older man approached us.

“You have a little helper with you today, huh?” he said.
“Yes, she’s a great helper” I answered.
“What’s your name sweetie?” he looked at Y.
No answer.
“Well, how old are you?”
No answer.
“How about a smile?”
Y glanced away, as the man looked at me and asked, “What is wrong with her? Is she sick?”
“Of course not sir, she is perfect! Have a great day!” And I strolled along.

 

This is an ideal example of what Cain writes about in her book. Why do we think that extroverts are more charismatic, smarter, better leaders? Why does something have to be wrong with my daughter because she doesn’t want to answer a stranger? “Introversion is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology. Yet some of our greatest ideas, art, and inventions came from quiet and cerebral people who knew how to tune in to their inner worlds and the treasures to be found there.”

I have taught my daughter to say hello and thank you, and be polite to those around her. To do to others what she’d like to have done onto her. But she is such an introvert, that she innately has a very tough time communicating. Even saying her name. This is not something she will “outgrow”. She will likely just learn to adapt to her environment better as she gets older. But she will always be an introvert. Just as I always will be an extrovert. I might tone down my “diarrhea of the mouth” as I see necessary, but I will always like to talk and be involved in group activities.

I’ve been thinking of a list of things that I hope Y will like to do in the future, more than speak in public or communicate with large groups:

  1. Listen to God’s voice
  2. Learn another language
  3. Sew a button
  4. Write a poem
  5. Find her passion
  6. Feel acceptance and gratitude
  7. Be self confident
  8. Express her emotions
  9. Love and be loved to the fullest
  10. Find the thing she was born to do

Susan Cain, in her TED conference (http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html) reminds us that “introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated”.

She made three requests:

1. Stop the madness for constant group work.
2. Go to the wilderness to have revelations. Unplug and get inside our heads.
3. Look at what is inside our suitcase and take it out. Whether it’s sky diving equipment or a library of books.
She ended her speech, wishing us all to have the courage to speak softly, as my daughter has taught me to do.

 

6 thoughts on “Introverted Invitation

  1. Beautiful, Maria! You and Y are perfect for each other, and I love how you allow her to be just who she is supposed to be!

  2. Well said Maria! I am sure we can all learn a lot through the example of your daughter. Sometimes more can be learned through silence than through a thousand words πŸ™‚ I look forward to your future posts…

    1. I’m enjoying the silence between Y and I as much as the laughter πŸ™‚ Thanks for your kind words Joanna!

  3. Maria, when i saw your blog today, i felt very intrigued, and once i started reading, you got my complete attention. Reading this in regards your daughter, i was able to relate myself in so many ways. I was like that as a child, and i’m still like that, i’m also the type of person, who listens, and laughs at jokes but doesn’t say anything, and i love that answer to the person at the grocery store “she is perfect!!!” made me smile πŸ™‚ made me feel good about myself too .

    I really really enjoy reading your blogs , besos!!!!!

    1. Bibi! Thanks so much!! I really appreciate your comments. Muchos besos!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *