Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless. ~Mother Teresa
One morning last week, Smiley and I went to the store to do our grocery shopping. Smiley is not a fan of the cart. She is one heck of an independent little girl. However, on this morning, I had a list. Not a super long list, but one long enough that she needed to be in the cart. We hit the produce section. Success. Next stop, meat and seafood. Success. On to the deli/bakery. FREE COOKIES for the kids! SUCCESS. (I know it was morning, but this is the little something that keeps her calmly in the cart for a few more aisles ~ yep, I'm a sucker) Dairy... Check, and on we went. All was fabulous until were halfway through the rest of the aisles. I only needed 10 more minutes. Ugh.. She began to grab random things off of the shelves and toss them into the cart. By the time I put it back something new would be in. Once I had the cart positioned in the center of the aisle and all extra items removed from it, the yelling began. And then the arching of the back and the attempts to climb out of the cart.
I asked her questions about the grocery store.
I did my best to entertain her.
To redirect her thoughts.
We made it.
We made it to the check out lane.
We waited in line.
We placed our items on the belt.
She began grabbing everything in sight. Candy, chips, batteries, magazines. Testing me. Testing my will and my patience. I continued my wait in line all while replacing items, unloading items and watching my yelling daughter as she looked at me with her turned in eyes (I'm not ready to go into that now, so more on that another day). I was frustrated and sad and trying to keep my patience and my smile.
We checked out.
I was bagging my groceries up when it happened.
It was the man behind me.
He began bagging his groceries as the cashier continued sending his items down the belt to him.
And he looked at me and said so sincerely, "Your daughter is BEAUTIFUL."
And HE made me smile. He turned my morning around with those 4 simple words. Because, my daughter is beautiful. Even if her eyes are not perfect. Even if she hates to be confined to a grocery cart and will let everyone around her know.
Do you realize, all it takes is a word, or a gesture to make a difference.
In church yesterday, Smiley was back to her "I don't want to be confined", independent, noisy self. She wanted me to put her down. Here's the low down, when we are standing in church and she is not being held, she crawls around on the floor, climbs on the seats and is basically "all over the place" So we choose to hold her unless we are sitting down (she will sit if we are). She wanted to be down. I told her, "No." So as we sat in our usual spot in the front row she threw herself a knock down, classic, two year old temper tantrum ~ yelling, arched back, flailing arms and legs, red faced temper tantrum. I calmly walked with her (screaming and yelling the entire way) to the back of the church, where we have a little corner we have designated as her "time out" spot (I know, time outs at church, really? Yep. Time outs at church). She had her time out, she calmed down, we went back to "our spot". During communion (only a few minutes later) an acquaintance walked past and grabbed my hand and gave it a squeeze. A comfort, a gesture from one mom to another. An "I've been there" gesture.
So very simple.
No words spoken.
Words from a stranger and a gesture from an acquaintance. Both unexpected, both deeply appreciated, because, I am not a perfect mother.
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
70. A mess house after a day with friends
71. The peace of a rosary
72. The confidence of my daughter
73. A simple note of thanks
74. A discussion of contentment
75. Fresh Air