As I’m sure you can imagine with a toddler, there are really great days and there are really challenging ones as well. About a week ago we were having one of those days where sleepless nights coupled with teething and a late-summer cold all came to a head, creating just about the crankiest version of Wes I had seen yet. I knew we had to get out of the house, although admittedly I was a little nervous about doing so because of the potential for tantrums. It had to be done though, so off we went to visit the local grocery store. Just for fun.
While we were wandering the aisles Wes munched on a cracker and I stared dreamily at the coffee. I think it’s pretty obvious by my Instagram feed that it’s kind of a staple throughout the day for me at this point in time, and sometimes just taking a big wiff of the freshly-roasted good stuff is all it takes to give me that extra boost. I should also mention here briefly that Wes is totally shy when it comes to meeting new people. He loves watching people and playing, but that first official greeting usually ends up with him hiding between my legs until he feels comfortable peeking out again.
So back to the store. I noticed down the aisle an adorable older gentleman glancing over the shelves and checking things off of his list. He didn’t look like he was having a bad day, but he didn’t look just overjoyed with life either. I always watch people and wonder what’s going on in their hearts; we can all get so good at hiding the stuff that really weighs on us, and I just felt the need to say a quick prayer for him.
We were edging closer and closer to this gentleman when suddenly he and Wes looked up simultaneously and made eye contact. I flipped out a little inside, knowing that if Wes were to look away in his shyness it could really make this man feel bad. But y’all? He totally didn’t – he looked this man straight in the eyes, broke out into a smile and waved at him. And I’ll be if that man didn’t grin from ear to ear and wave back with a little tear in his eye. We all smiled and made small talk for a minute and went on our way, but as we were leaving the store I saw our new friend checking out and his entire demeanor had changed.
It amazes me what a small smile and a wave can do to change someone’s entire life. Seemingly, it only changed that day, but I will forever remember the way my little man encouraged and uplifted a complete stranger without even having to speak. Every day since then I’ve told Wes how proud I am of him for taking a chance to love someone else well, and how his beautiful smile and sweet heart were made just for that very reason, and how it has given ME courage to do the same. It is so easy to just live in my little bubble and not make eye contact, to hide behind the proverbial pants legs of my smart phone, or just take the fact that I can smile and wave for granted.
But you guys? It makes someone else’s day, and even if that little smile and wave doesn’t change their heart, it certainly changes mine. It gives me a chance to love better and stronger and more meaningfully, and that is something that changes my life and the lives of our children forever!
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