I took Oliver to the post office today – actually bringing him inside because his brother wasn't there to sit in the car with him as I sprinted to the automated postage system. I brought Ollie into the lobby by his own self – no stroller – nothing with straps – it was a huge risk.
It's a relatively new post office and the lobby has the automated postage machine. A separate glass door opens to the "window" area – that's where I was headed. As I made for that second door Oliver decided to stay in the entryway. There was only a handful of people in the building and I could clearly see him while keeping my place in line.
A woman walked up to the postage machine and began ordering stamps. Oliver stepped between her and the machine (he's worked the machine with me MANY times). I began to panic – not visibly. As soon as she had finished paying I knew what would be coming out of the lower slot – her stamps. Ollie was ready for them.
I made the awkward "I'm torn" motion, trying to hold one foot in line while opening the glass door to call him to my side.
"Oliver, get in here (insert waving motion...followed by pointing to the floor underneath me)."
"No way." LOVE this phrase.
"It's ok, he's my helper," said the woman. I let the door close again and watched him hand her her sheets of stamps – one at a time. She never hurried him.
The woman left and Oliver waved. I moved forward in line.
In walks a younger man towards the machine. He was smiling as Oliver took his place by the stamp shoot. I felt less nervous this time. The man in front of me commented on how cute Oliver was and how he greeted him – making eye contact – as he came in.
I turned to face him, middle-age, round glasses, baseball cap. "Both of my kids are overly social. They would willing go with a stranger I'm afraid," I told him.
"What a unique view of the world," he told me. "It's refreshing to see a kid who will grow up believing that people are good."
Wow. That really hit me. That's exactly what my kids will believe! As I've watched each of my children be extremely comfortable with adult strangers it has at times made me afraid for them. However, today I realized that it's me who has modeled that behavior. I believe that people are good! I've never been a worrying Mom. I don't fear that my house will be broken into, that my identity will be stolen or that someone will snatch my kid from the playground at school. I've always been comfortable in my community, been able to rely on strangers to pick my kid up if he falls at the park and they are closer than I and in my own way have promoted co-existence to my boys.
Oliver had to help one more customer before I was finished checking out. That person was equally as thrilled to have an assistant.
When we got home from the post office I found this box in my porch – dropped off my a stranger. My kids are aware of the kindness in people because it is demonstrated to them daily. Sure wouldn't want them to grow up any other way – might just change the world.
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