I’m just gonna say it. I’m not as nice as I used to be. Fortunately the rest of my family is a good influence and I am not yet too old to learn from them.
This morning the kids and I went to our local warehouse food store. Warehouses: Making food shopping depressing yet affordable year after year. Just this morning I discovered that my baby is big enough to ride in the front of the cart with his sister instead of in the Ergo. This was an extremely liberating discovery.
While we walked through the produce section we overheard another mother conversing with her son about broccoli. My daughter chimed right in. “Oh! We like broccoli! We have some at home. My daddy likes broccoli- he likes all green foods. We are buying him some green foods right now! Today we bought him celery and kale and lettuce. Look!”
For a moment I couldn’t quite believe that she had chosen to portray her parents in a positive light. It was extremely encouraging. The most encouraging thing however happened in the check-out line. My daughter really likes names. She had named her entire collection of Little People (40?) and once they were named it was forever. Cindy Lou Who, Liz Leininger, Murphy, Wendy, and Farmer Jack are often found playing Ring-Around-The-Rosie in the low windowsills of our house.
She likes names so much that she would not hesitate to ask yours if given the slightest opportunity. So it was that she asked the cashier, “What’s your name?”
“Oh. It’s Karen,” she answered. It seemed unlikely that anyone else had cared what her name was this morning.
My exuberant 2 year old remarked, “Karen? Karen! That’s a super name. Good-bye, have a GREAT day Karen! We’ll come back to visit you soon!”
Karen’s eyebrows rose. She glanced at me. I smiled at her. She smiled back. Her posture straightened, she rotated her body so she was fully facing us and little bit of life went back into her eyes.
We rolled ourselves away and I wondered when I last complimented someone in the service industry. When did I offer more than the obligatory “thank-you”? In moments like these I am aware that having kids was the best thing I ever did. Not for the planet certainly, but for my own selfish desires. They will keep me nice.