Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A Kind Word

Sometimes our cat walks to the corner, puts her face into the point where the two walls meet and meows. Sometimes she get up on her two hind legs and seems to be trying to climb over this wall. Eric and I laugh because this makes zero sense. She is setting herself up for failure. She complains to the wall, she tries to climb it, but there she remains.

I think you can see where this train is going right? Yesterday I was the cat. I have been trying to solve a problem in ways that are ineffective. Doing the same thing over and over to yeild the same results every time. I needed to turn around and take a different path. My husband recognized my frustration and after dinner I slipped off for a solo walk while Eric shared some father/daughter time with the girls.

I walked up and down the streets of our neighborhood. I stopped to smell the flowers and take in the beauty of spring, but still my frustration lingered. I walked faster. I walked uphill. I tried to power through the feelings. Yet still I wasn't quite my normal self.

Finally, I rounded a corner. Stomping up the hill I spotted two girls sitting and laughing on their front steps. One girl was wearing sneakers and a grungy ballet outfit. She was somewhere in the 8-10 range. Her tangled hair was pulled back into something that probably started off as ponytail. The second girl was a bit younger. She had tangled white curls and she was filthy.  She looked like a dandelion gone to seed. The two had clearly been doing some serious outdoor play after dinner.

I saw them spot me across the street. Ballet Girl whispered something to Dandelion Girl. Then Ballet Girl walked to the edge of her driveway as I passed by on the opposite side of the street. She stared. I knew more was coming.

"You're really pretty," she yelled. Her hands on her round belly.

"Thank you!" I kept walking, assuming that was the end.

"What school do you go to?"

It was not the end. I replied, "I am an artist and a teacher. I am all grown up."

She took a moment to consider this as I passed by and continued up the street.

"I don't know why I asked that, " she said as she kept up the pace across the street. Dandelion Girl ran up too, clearly emboldened by our interaction.

"I just...I like your hair," shouted Dandelion Girl.

"Thank you ladies," I called out.

Ballet Girl, "I like your dress. I just really like how you look."

It was time for me to turn down a side street. "Thank you ladies, you have a great night," I called out as I walked away.

I smiled as I heard their hushed whispers as they galloped back to their home. My mood had been shifted. I needed that. Not compliments about how I look, but just the kindness of strangers.  A few simple compliments had given me the gift of new perspective. I turned away from my cat corner situation and I was ready to face my frustrations with a new attitude, all because two little girls were sweet.

Today I am reminded that small kindnesses can be transformative. We can do that for each other, just a little sweetness on hungry ears can change everything. So I will be even more generous with my kind words, hoping they land where they are needed.

Dear reader, I hope today you know your own value. I hope you know that you are loved and appreciated. Have a beautiful day.

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