When Mom sees kids, she wants to go talk to them. The thing that I love is that she tells me that she often tells me that she is going to go say hi to her friend.
There is such a beauty in the idea that any child is her friend. Race, gender, exact age is unimportant. Any small person is a friend of Mom’s. Her day is brighter for seeing them. We usually spend some time waving if not having a conversation.
And no actual conversation is required. Mom connects with her friends. At the grocery store, on the street, at the farmer’s market in the rain, at the beach. Happily most parents can see her delight and genuine friendliness with their children. The woman has simply got to have the chance to say hello to her friends. And her other friend. And the one over there too!
I was delighted to realize in the middle of last week that my new house on a cute residential block of the city might actually get some trick or treating action. Having mostly lived in city apartments, children in costumes rarely show up at my door.
Mom of course was delighted by Halloween. Chocolate and children are two of her favorite things! She started the day right by carving a rather attractive jack o lantern.
But the highlight was when the kids began to arrive. I have rarely seen Mom so happy. Every child that showed up got a rather significant handful of candy, and Mom usually concluded that it was still insufficient so went chasing after them to give them even more.
A few years ago, I could never have expected that I would one day be spending my Halloween chasing my mother down our street. And I definitely could not have predicted that doing so would be so much fun.
Mom loves kids. I mean, she absolutely loves kids. Anytime we see a child or baby when we are out running errands, she stops everything to say hello, chat, admire them. It’s lovely.
We were shopping in Ikea recently and I got highly distracted with the question of whether I was finding the 27 parts that seemed to be required to build the particular shelving unit that I wanted. I looked up to find Mom happily chatting with a rather adorable 7 year old down the aisle. Mom was channeling her inner school teacher — she taught elementary school for about a decade before having me. It was quite sweet. Mom was using our tiny Ikea pencil to write the little girl a report card giving her all As. The girl’s father and I hovered, carefully watching the two of them.
It makes me happy when I see kids bring out this kind of happiness in her. It also breaks my heart that she will not be around, at least not in a high functioning way, to be a part of my children’s lives, if I ever have them. Mom recently told me out of the blue that she would like to open a day care in our house. It was a brilliant idea for who she is at core, and yet not an idea that is possible anymore. A more functioning version of her would have loved that. And she would have been wonderful at it.
In the meantime, it always gives me a moment of joy when I see a child in our path these days. I know that the minute of saying hi to them will make Mom’s day that much brighter. I wonder whether the families we encounter have any idea of the joy they are bringing.