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.