Friday, September 14, 2012

The goodness of strangers

When Ryan was an infant, we took him to Gymboree classes. At one class, during parents' sharing time, we were asked what makes us most happy as parents. Most of the parents answered, "My baby's smile". While Ryan's smile certainly did make my day, my answer was a little different. I said, "The way my baby makes everyone around him smile."

When Ryan came along, he brought out the best in people, whether they were close to us or absolute strangers. He still does. People around us are always smiling at us and striking up conversations with us. 

Once, at his nanny's, I got into a lift with a mother and her grown-up daughter. Her daughter saw Ryan and exclaimed to her mother, "This is the little boy I was telling you about! So good-looking!" When I relayed the episode to Richard later, he said that he and Ryan had encountered her a few days ago and she had been very taken with Ryan, making a lot of nice comments about him. He is an absolute superstar in the neighbourhood, with people I've never met coming up to me and saying, "Oh, are you Ryan's mother?"

Last Sunday, when we were at McDonald's after Shichida class, Ryan caught the attention of diners at a nearby table and they played peekaboo with him across the restaurant - them sitting at their table and Ryan at ours! Richard and I pretended not to notice and they played on for a good 20 minutes!

As it was with Ryan, so it is with Rachel. How effortlessly it happens when a newborn is around! Her grandparents are completely smitten, as are her aunts, uncles and cousins. Richard's mother wears a permanent grin on her face whenever Rachel is visiting. Strangers who would otherwise have passed us by without a second glance, now smile kindly at us. They stop and make sweet comments. They share their own stories about their children and dispense free parenting advice. There is a real sense of goodwill and we feel so much more connected to the world around us.

Here we were, last week, at the hairdresser's. Someone is playing with Rachel and making her chuckle (I have no idea who). She basically melted everyone's hearts.

It's moments like these that illustrate all those sayings about how children bring joy and how love makes the world go round. I like to think that, babies and little children give people that chance to forget about their stress and their personas, they can just relax and be their true selves. Most of the time, when this happens, people are real nice!

Hope you come across nice strangers this weekend! Happy weekend!


Anonymous said...

Jiaaaahhhhh...what a smile, baby Rachel...
Love it !!!


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