This morning, we met some friends at Frosty's for donuts, coffee, and shenanigans. Frosty's has two huge windows that overlook the busy main street in Brunswick. The plastic old-time booths are pushed against a giant step that allows kids to play right up against the windows, complete with play kitchen and of course, play donuts. You and cutie pie gal pal, Avery, wasted no time getting to work making her mommy and me special sprinkly donuts.
Soon the noise level in Frosty's reached epic proportions as you and Avery were saying hello and waving to not only every person that came into the shop, but every person that walked by and looked in the window!
Naturally, our first instincts were to shush you and remind you to use your 'inside' voices. But then we started really watching the reactions of the people who you were shouting hello to. We watched some ladies giggle and wave back as they continued their stride down the street; we watched the man who brought his face right up to the window right back at you and made googly eyes at the two of you, causing you to dissolve into hysterical giggles; we watched you do this to college kids, hipsters, moms, dads, and basically all of the random people who patron this shop or have to walk by it at 8:45 on a Saturday morning.
One man, however, sticks out in my memory. He was an elderly gentleman, grizzled weathered features, shuffling his way to Frosty's exit. You and Avery were desperately trying to get his attention, waving and saying hellooooo! helloooo! He looked our way...unsmiling, and Avery's momma and I mutually thought, uh oh...not everyone goes for these 'cute' 3 year old antics...and then something kind of sweet happened. He raised an arthritic gnarled hand and gave you both a wave...and then a tiny grin. The tiny grin turned into a full on smile. And as he walked out of the shop and past the windows, you all continued to wave and smile until the next person came along and captured your interest.
It was then that Avery's mom told me a story about a recent fatal accident that happened involving a young preschool teacher and how the surrounding community is dealing with it by trying to perform random acts of kindness as that is something this woman would have appreciated and how she lived her own life.
So there in that moment, we thought...maybe my rascal boy with his Eyeore hat and gap-toothed smile, and her sweet girl, with a pretty bow in her adorable blond hair, giving grins and giggles to passersby, causing them to beam and wave and waggle their eyebrows back...was our way of giving someone or many someones just a little bit of joy today. Instead of feeling exasperated at the mischievous antics, we took the time to watch and enjoy the reactions, realizing that little kids being, well, little kids, can sometimes make even the crustiest curmudgeon a bit more cheerful.
It also reminded me of our recent Disney adventure, and watching the most grown up of grownups be transformed into wonder-filled children again, embraced by the magic and fairy tale of it all. How in one place, the cynical, jaded, harsh realities of the world fade away into oblivion and are replaced by awe and amazement.
I came away from this little jaunt today feeling like we need to do better. Be better parents, better friends, better partners, better siblings, better sons and daughters, better coworkers--set better examples. It's so easy to be negative but takes real effort to be positive and project that into someone else's life. My three and a half year old showed me that today.