As Lorelai gets older, I am really enjoying getting to see her personality develop. She just turned 2, and it was like overnight she became her own person. She's funny, and mischievous. She loves to sing and color and dance. She talks non-stop and tells me she loves me several times each day. She loves to hug and give kisses. And watching her grow into her own person, I'm learning from her too.
Many of you read my post a couple of weeks ago about my commitment to becoming more present in my life, especially in my time with her. And I am happy to say that I am really sticking with that goal, mostly because I'm not finding it as hard as I thought I would. I really enjoy my daughter, and when I stay present with her, she always teaches me something.
And that brings me to today's subject - friends. Lorelai is just getting to the age where she really loves interacting with people. (Maybe that's part of her personality? Seriously, the girl has never met a stranger!) I've been watching her interact with kids and adults alike over the last few weeks, and what I've seen has taught me some things.
We went to the Fall Festival at Jamaa Birth Village, and I got to watch Lorelai play with several other children. At one point I looked over and she was patting one little girl on the arm and talking to her. I saw her hug a little boy sitting next to her. And when I walked over she said "Look Mommy! I color with friends!"
We went on a walk around the neighborhood last week, and it was around the time school was letting out. We passed a mom and her two kids walking home from school and Lorelai cheerily greeted them "Hello Friends!"
Kyle and I took her trick-or-treating for the first time this year (so fun!) and she talked to each person that answered the door, and even hugged one of our neighbors.
I consistently see her hugging her friends and family, greeting strangers we meet with a smile and a "hello friend!", patting my cheek and saying "OK Mommy?" when she can tell I'm upset.... This girl has a heart for people. I have rarely met someone as in tune with the feelings of others as my daughter.
It's got me thinking - when was the last time I saw a stranger walking down the street and thought of him as a friend? When was the last time I reached out to hug someone I just met, just because she looked like she needed it? When did meeting people become so fraught with nerves and suspicion? I find myself wanting to discourage Lorelai from talking to strangers, discourage her from touching new friends, discourage, discourage, discourage. But why? Because society says I should? Because I'm afraid for her? Yes, I think it is important that she learns not to go places with strangers, but why, when I am right there watching, can't she make new friends?
You know what I noticed? Those children she hugged didn't mind. They played together happily and even hugged her back. The strangers she greeted as friends greeted her back and smiled. The neighbor she hugged said it made her night. And everyone is always telling me how sweet my daughter is. But I don't think it's just sweetness. I think Lorelai has a real intuition when it comes to where people are emotionally. When it comes to what people need in a moment, I think she feels it more keenly than most. Maybe it's just because she's a child, but maybe it's who she is as a person too. I know one thing though - I don't want to discourage it. I want to teach her about boundaries and safety, yes, but I also always always ALWAYS want to teach her to listen to that intuition. To listen to that little voice inside that's encouraging her to love on the people around her. Her loving nature is my favorite thing about her. And I want to be more cognizant of that little voice in myself too. Because one thing I think our world could use more of is people loving other people. Greeting strangers as friends. Giving hugs when someone is hurting. Spreading a little more love and acceptance. So, today, take a lesson from Lorelai and share some love with those around you. I promise you won't regret it.