Earlier this week my 6-year-old, Grace and I decided to run a few errands while her sister was at dance class. This made Grace less than thrilled. Actually, she told me this would be so “borin’.”
At first, it was. A quick stop to the vet clinic to pick up a $65 bag of cat food wasn’t on her list of “fun things to do with Mom after school.”
But then, we made a stop downtown at our local teacher supply store in our small community of about 30,000ish people. And I was pretty sure I walked back into 1991 too. There was Christmas music playing (likely on an old fashioned thing called a radio) and a woman named Nancy greeted us both with a smile.
My usually shy Grace seemed to like her right away.
I did too.
“Why do you look familiar?” she asked me. In a small town, it doesn’t take much for everyone to know everyone. When I reminded her of my local television days some 6 years ago, she instantly remembered.
“Ah, yes! Leslie!”
I knew I liked her.
We talked for a bit – just this stranger and me and my little girl, and finally I asked for a couple gift cards to give to my girls’ teachers.
Now, at this point in any holiday shopping adventure, I’m usually rushed, trying to get from one thing to the next. But on this particular afternoon, I actually had time to wait. And talk. And soak in a rare teaching opportunity (for my girl and for me) that I had no idea was coming.
See it took Nancy a while to get the cards ready. She had to pull out an old notebook to write who the cards were for and who the cards were from and then we had to fill out and sign another piece of paper for my credit card and then finally, after about 10 minutes, we ran my card through a machine to approve it all.
And once that was done, we talked about this ole’ website and the joys of being a mom and the baby I’m about to have. I even told her his name.
And guess what, she even liked it! Or acted like she did anyway.
Nearly 20 minutes went by before we started wrapping up the conversation – which, to my surprise, kept my 6-year-old’s attention span the entire time.
Trust me. That never happens.
Nancy rewarded Grace for her good behavior with stickers. And then she gave her sister a set of stickers, too.
Because she’s awesome like that.
She apologized once or twice for taking so long and even remarked that I could probably tell she “lives alone” because we were talking so much. But I didn’t mind. Not one bit. For the first time this entire holiday shopping season, I actually enjoyed spending money at a store. It was quite possibly one of the most pleasant shopping experiences I’ve had in my 35 years.
When we left and loaded back up in our car, Grace said, “Mom! She was so nice. We should get her a gift.”
My Grace, age 6 – wanted to get this beautiful stranger a gift. I couldn’t say no.
So today, we went back to the store with a small plate of cookies and hot chocolate and a Christmas tree picture, cut out just perfectly so. My Grace, who isn’t a fan of photos or strangers, happily jumped up on the counter to take a photo with Miss Nancy.
And my heart melted into 1,000 pieces.
I guess I tell you this as a reminder for this holiday season. Normally, a long drawn out conversation on a busy afternoon would annoy me. Normally, I wouldn’t have time for chit chat. Heck, I wouldn’t even look up. I would drag my girls with me crossing off my to-do list, trying to cram one more thing into an already hectic day. But Miss Nancy and my sweet Grace reminded me to stop, if only for a moment, and have a conversation.
When’s the last time any of us did that?
Kindness. Guys – I’m telling you – it will change the world. Thank goodness the older(ish) and the young remind all of us in the middle about the real beauty of this life.
Thanks for your kindness, Nancy. I hope my Grace never forgets.