Yesterday was my 28th birthday, but as many of you know, after about age 21 the birthdays get a whole lot less exciting. Well, there was that pause at age 25 when I recognized that I had no reached the insurance age of accountability, when my plan would start to cost less. But other than that, it’s pretty much a “meh” affair most years. That said, I think birthdays should be celebrated in that, hey, you’ve made it another year right? That’s good. If I make it to 100, my plan is to throw an enormous party and brag a whole lot. Probably won’t happen, but it’s nice to plan ahead. So yeah. I’m 28. Big whoop. ;-D That said, it was a wonderful birthday and I enjoyed it. Jonathan and I both got new phones (for free!), and we finally replaced the broken CD player in my car. Turns out the broken CD player had some sort of short that had been drawing power and causing the battery to die – who knew that could happen? Not this girl (not really good with car electronics, it turns out). We went out for a great date night Saturday, and overall it was just a nice, relaxing birthday weekend. Couldn’t ask for more.
Anyhow, I realized something this past weekend about my little guy, and it sort of choked me up. Russ isn’t even 18 months old yet, but he is already making a difference. Russ’s work is in the way he communicates with other people and brings a smile to their faces. Granted, it helps that he’s little and toddlerish and adorable. It makes it that much easier for him to get by with being social to an extent that would just seem awkward and creepy in an adult.
On any given excursion – be it to the post office, grocery store, the gym, the park, anyway – Russ is talking t people.
“HEY!” he yells, smiling and waving like he’s SO happy to see them. He doesn’t even know these people, but he acts like he’s so excited to see them. It’s so precious. It also scares me a little inside. Like is he going to get at some point that you can’t just automatically trust people, and that you don’t talk to strangers, etc.? Until that point of understanding comes, I’m going to have to really keep my eye on him. What’s really funny is when someone wants to be the cool guy and just ignore him. Russ will not have that. In those cases, he yells “Hey! Hey! HEY!” over and over, while smiling even bigger and waving even more enthusiastically.
Russ blows kisses, too. In the past week alone, he’s probably blown about 200 kisses – to the cashier at Publix, the mailman, the FedEx delivery guy, the entire staff at the Verizon store (who showered him in balloons, of course), and even to a dump truck driver who was next to us at a stoplight. Do you remember any time in your life when you loved the world this much, that you just blew kisses and sent out love to everyone, whether you knew them or not? It’s incredible. It brings tears to my eyes. This little boy is such an amazing person because this world hasn’t messed him up yet. I haven’t messed him up yet. Reality hasn’t gotten to him yet. He’s all about it right now, and I keep thinking to myself “I am definitely going to miss this.” This point in time is so beautiful because Russ’s life is so basic and so uncomplicated and so…just innocent.
When we have kids, we think about all the things WE have to teach them, but Russ is teaching me so much stuff that I really need to learn. We all need to learn this. While I would struggle not to flip the bird at someone who cuts me off in traffic, Russ’s first instinct is to run up and give them a high five and a little dance or a couple excited jumps in the air. Where do kids get this stuff? I can only assume it’s a God thing. A complete purity when it comes to being contaminated by all the nastiness and hate in this world. I’m a part of that nastiness – we all are in some way or another. But boy…this kid sure makes me want to get better.
Statistically, the 20 or 30 people Russ yells “Hey!” at, blows kisses to, or high fives in the grocery store come from a lot of sad walks of life. Statisically speaking, one of them has probably battled cancer. One of them has probably been abused or neglected in some way. At least one of them has probably been assaulted or raped. Many of them are probably struggling financially. Some of them might be struggling mentally or emotionally. God…when you think about all the hurt in this world is when it really starts to overwhelm me. What if that smile from my little guy is the only one they’ve seen today?
That is freaking powerful stuff. Notice these things our children do. They don’t last forever. This world will get to them – in a way that’s pretty normal and pretty typical, one can hope. But they won’t keep blowing kisses to everyone they see forever.
In ten years, he’ll be all about rolling his eyes and getting his voice to stop cracking. Right now he’s little and sweet, and he wants to say hello to everyone and blow them a kiss.
Yep. I’m gonna miss this.