The other day I took the car to the mechanic due to the largely-useless and often annoying check engine light coming on. You know, the one which lights up for any number of problems, the most of which garages are more than happy to just reset for you as they are no big deal to the safe operation of the vehicle. This time was one of the let’s-go-ahead-and-fix-that times so I got to sit in the waiting room for over two hours.
There were others waiting as well, including a woman with two of her children; one boy and one girl. The kids were very well-behaved and mom brought some simple electronic distractions. Not only that, but said electronic distractions were not noisy at all. They had a little breakfast from McDonald’s to start off their wait time then proceeded to entertain themselves. The most “distracting” thing the little knee-chompers did was, after a while, get off the couch and stretch out on their bellies on the carpet while enjoying their gadgets.
Then, after about 45 minutes, the little boy was up and stretching his legs. He stood right in front of me, but his hand on my knee, then leaned in and gave me a hug. It was too cute. I patted him on the back and said, “Hi there!” We shared a few moments, a fist-bump, a high-five and some polite conversation. I turns out his name is Billy and he is three-years-old. His sister is two. Billy and his sister have at least one other sibling; a ten-year-old brother who is this tall. Billy asked me if he’ll be this tall when he’s ten; I told him I think he’d be this tall. (Wait, you can’t see my hands. Okay, forget that part.) All-in-all, Billy was a very friendly and very cool kid. His sister briefly spoke with me, but I didn’t get any hugs from her (I guess the second one from Billy was for his sister).
As a father of five myself I certainly enjoy talking with kids. They are, after all, my intellectual equals (or superiors). And I was especially impressed with their mother. My wife and I do teach our kids about stranger-danger, and they don’t get much stranger than me, but I do like when our children can socialize and be themselves with people when mom and dad are around. I don’t want them so cautious of others that they become fearful. I applaud this mother for letting her son be himself. Perhaps if we were all a little more sociable with our fellow man our world would be a better place. And this coming from a very shy non-talker.
I was happy to make my new friend, Billy. He sure brightened my time in that waiting room, and I hope he continues to brighten others’ days as well. Maybe I should try harder to as well.