Monday, August 27, 2012

Because you never know

It was kindergarten orientation at a public school, and you could tell who the first-time kindergarten parents were and who the veterans were.  One mother walking in was searching with wide-open blue eyes at the other families.  She held tightly to her daughter's hand.  They had matching light blond hair.  The parents signed their kids in, and then read with them or drew pictures or just sat there scoping out the other families.  The blond mother was having a very hard time.  

After all the parents were told they could leave, she walked up the stairs with a veteran mother who was also barely holding it together.  They chit-chatted a little and the veteran mother reassured her how wonderful all the teachers are and how emotional these days are.  The blond mom stood perfectly still as her red-rimmed eyes spilled over with tears.  The veteran shyly put one arm on the blond mother's shoulder and then went ahead and hugged her for several seconds, telling her that it was going to be okay.  This caused the woman to cry even more and leave to collect herself in the bathroom.  A few minutes later, the veteran was walking out of the building, and the blond mom came to her and still tearfully said, "I'll never forget you for having my back today."  

The veteran laughed a little because, really, it was an incredibly small thing.  


An man in his 80's was doing his grocery shopping and noticed a well-dressed woman in her forties picking out tomatoes.  She turned to him and said, "How are you today?"  The old man rarely gives a straight answer, so he gave his standard reply of furrowed brow and "terrible." 

The woman turned to face him and said, "No, that's not true.  You're beautiful."

I've known this old man for a while now, and I've never known him to be left speechless.  This time he was.  As he relayed the story to me today, he said, "Did you know no one has ever told me that?  I'm 85 years old and have never been told I'm beautiful."  

He saw the woman and her daughter a few minutes later and asked the daughter if she'd heard what her mother said to him.  She had and told the old man that her mother never, ever lies so if she said it, it must be true.   


Last night before bed, I changed my profile picture to one of Fred Rogers, one of my heroes.  A woman I know on the east coast wrote this,

 "Loved him. I will brag now that I once sent him an apple pie recipe, and he sent me a Christmas card every year after that."

Can you believe that?  What a special man to be so good at making others feel special too.

I been thinking today about how many people out there could use reassurance from a stranger, even reassurance that involves breaking through the invisible physical barriers we place around ourselves.  There are old men who might emotionally recount to someone with the "promise not to repeat this to anyone!" directive that someone thinks they're gorgeous.  

Well, and Fred Rogers.  I don't think anybody can do what he did.  

As corny as this post is, it's true that I've been inspired today to keep my eyes open to the fragile people in my orbit.

“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”
Fred Rogers


Sara said...

What a great reminder. Mr. Rogers is one of my heroes, too.

kn said...

I'm am so lucky that I got to spend the first moments of my day reading this.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Your words, your songs, your reflections have the same effect as a deep hug, a startling complement, an eye to eye moment of seeing another person for who they want to be. The only difference is you may not know it.

breathe in, breathe out, thank you.

Fiona said...

It's been several months since I looked at your blog and I just enjoyed a feast of posts. Thanks so much for writing and giving us such gourmet food for thought.

hotflawedmama said...

i freaking love this post. and fred rogers? that is amazing.

Melissa said...

Great post! An eye-opener. Love it.