Today was our first story time at the library. Story time was really great, better than I was expecting, considering the group is for 1-2 year olds and Ro-Ro is only 4 months. There were songs, and finger rhymes and of course the story. However, this is not the experience mentioned in the title. That experience happened prior to story time.
My momma went with me today so she could get a library card. She sat at a table filling out the form and I parked the baby's stroller beside her while I went and browsed for books. I was behind a shelf when I heard a loud, slightly slurred "Hi" directed to someone on the other side, which was quickly followed by a shush. I realized from the speech that the greeter was mentally challenged and had just been shushed by her caregiver. I didn't hear the response of the person she had greeted and a moment later I heard her telling her caregiver, "I'm going to go look at these books" as she wondered around the shelf I was standing behind. She was slightly hunched, with short dark hair, glasses, and wearing a pink hoodie. It was hard to tell but I would say she was at least in her twenties, we'll suffice it to say she wasn't a child or teenager. I admit as she came around the shelf I avoided eye contact. I didn't want the attention from the other patrons, that was sure to come if I entered into a guaranteed loud conversation with this young lady. She moved back around to the front of the shelves as I continued perusing titles.
A moment later I heard my little Ro-Ro headed my way with his Memaw so I walked around the shelf just in time to witness the young lady enter into a conversation with my momma. She looked at my baby and exclaimed how cute he was then asked momma if he was hers. I was approaching from behind, put on a big smile and said "No, he's mine". She looked at me and immediately exclaimed, "He looks just like you!" I smiled some more as I went past her to put my books in the stroller. As I was turning back around she was saying, "I know how to get him to smile!" and as I watched, she covered her face in preparation for a game of peek-a-boo. In the seconds between her covering her face and then exclaiming "peek-a-boo!" I pasted on another smile and was all geared up to explain how tired he was so her feelings wouldn't be hurt when he didn't smile. I was watching my baby, mouth opened to explain, and as her hands came off her face and she exclaimed "peek-a-boo!" Ro-Ro gave her the sweetest smile. I teared up as she hastily removed her glasses and covered her face again to repeat the process, earning her another smile. Then she asked me his name, I genuinely smiled and asked hers. I told her thank you for playing with him and we headed off to story time.
As we entered the elevator I praised Ro-Ro for being such a sweet baby and smiling at the nice lady, as if he'd done something extraordinary in being kind to the handicap lady. As the words left my mouth I realized he had no concept of how special she was. All he had observed and responded to was another person who had paid attention to him. He's very smiley and social for a 4 month old, but he doesn't always respond to strangers, just whoever he happens to take a fancy to. He saw no difference in her and every other stranger we meet that exclaims how cute he is and tries to get him to interact.
His precious, innocent view of the world made me consider myself. As adults we allow our past experiences to effect our reaction to current situations. In most cases, this is a valuable life skill, enabling us to avoid past mistakes. There are certain times however when maybe we would benefit from letting go of any preconceptions, previous thoughts, and past experiences and just view the world as a child, innocent and free of any prejudice and misconceptions. I believe there are times when, if I allowed myself to do this, I could enjoy life's moments to the fullest. So, I'm going to strive to do this and pray for the wisdom to discern those moments in which I should "let go" and switch to the innocent view of a child.