I approached a woman the other day and asked,
“Excuse me, is this your child?”
For a moment I saw her face fall and instinctively I knew what flashed through her mind.
(“Oh shit, what has he done?”)
I could almost sense her heart fall, her stomach turn and that creeping blotchy rash start to spread across her chest, I could almost feel the beads of sweat forming on the back of her neck and her heart start to race.
I could envisage the thoughts crashing through her mind like a stormy sea scrabbling around for the excuses, the come backs, the justifications for whatever had just happened.
The adrenaline starts to surge and this poor woman is ready to enter flight or flight, but I’m not done yet, I had something I wanted to say to this mother and I didn’t want her walking away until I had said it.
You see I had been watching her son with mine and what I saw I had to comment on, I couldn’t just leave it.
“Excuse me, is this your child?”
“I just wanted to say what a lovely little boy you have there”
Instantly her shoulders relax, a small sigh of relief escapes her lips and the tense look on her face softens and she breaks out in a shy smile.
“I’ve been watching your son playing with mine for the last 15 minutes and it was such a lovely sight to see.”
For a moment she looked slightly taken aback.
“I said thank you to your son for playing with mine and he said ‘I thought he looked lonely and needed a friend’, he was so sweet helping him up, sitting with him and talking to him, you’re raising such a lovely boy”
The compliment seemed to take her back but I meant every word for I had watched this boy (who was 5 compared to my 2 year old) as he helped lift him up onto the hay bales at the barn. I watched as they sat and chatted together, as they slid down the hay laughing with each other.
I watched as my son looked up admiringly at this older boy taking him under his wing and follow him around eager to be a part of whatever game was being played. This older boy wasn’t put off by my toddler not being able to fully interact in a conversation, not did he mind lifting him up again and again onto the hay bales. Even when I said to my son that we had to go, this boys face dropped slightly and asked “Can he come back and play later?”. He didn’t just take him under his wing but he liked him being around.
I knew I had to find this boys mum and tell her how sweet her child had been. In a world of shaming and blaming today needed a little happiness and cheer.
It shouldn’t take us by surprise when we receive a compliment, and it shouldn’t feel like a rarity in a sea of negativity that surrounds us. With so many shocking stories in the news, moaning and whining on social media, ranting posts on who may be supporting breastfeeding or not, the “go f@#* yourselves” retorts or the usual corrupt hypocritical politicians, what ever happened to the happily ever after? What ever happened to the light at the end of negative media ralleyed tunnel?
We find it so easy to criticise and complain, to rant and rave but it almost feels too awkward to compliment someone, to say something nice, to tell someone they’ve done well. Well not today, I bounded up to this mum with smiles and compliments and I wanted her to know that at that moment her boy was special and not just to her but to a stranger passing by, and I wanted her to know that she had done good, as this just doesn’t come from nowhere and that needed acknowledgement.