Over the weekend I was in church and there sat families with small children all around me. My husband and I chose to put our daughter in the nursery for 3/4 of mass so we could pay attention during the homily. For the first time in awhile I was able to fully concentrate on what our priest was saying. As the homily ended, I noticed a woman in the pew in front of me getting all excited and bright-eyed over a newborn who was just taken out of her carseat. The young parents quickly became overwhelmed as their 2 year old daughter was vying for attention. The lady next to them immediately offered to hold their baby and the Father shyly said, “okay”, then frantically looked at the mom to make sure it was okay. The mother was fine and she directed her attention to their eldest child. I looked back at the woman who was holding their child and she was overcome with so much joy. It looked like she hadn’t held a baby in years. I know it made her whole day, if not year, by holding that newborn. I wondered what her story was. Why was she there alone? Why did she yearn to hold that newborn so badly? Did she have any children of her own? I realized it didn’t matter, she was happy and so were the parents. I’m not using this story to say that you must be comfortable letting a stranger hold your baby, because I am not sure if I would have been a happy Mama bear if I noticed my husband had handed off our new baby to a stranger, but, I wanted to share the experience I had while watching a stranger enjoy someone else’s child.
I know I get several comments a day about my daughter and random strangers come up to her and try to pinch her legs or touch her hands. I usually am socially awkward in this situation and as long as it doesn’t cross a line I am fine with it. I’ve only been in a handful, if that, of those kinds of situations. Now that my daughter is more interactive with the people who are giving her attention it is hard to just get out of that situation. She often is the one to wave down a stranger passing by our table who then stops and gives her the attention she wanted. Leaving mama and dada to carry on the new conversation that has begun. Scarlett is surely bringing out the extrovert in me in these situations.
What I am coming to realize is that no matter how awkward and uncomfortable it may be for me, my child is enjoying every ounce of that attention and that person interacting with my child is enjoying it, too. They probably went home and told their family or friends that some cute little girl waved them down, giggled at them, and made them smile. Babies exude pure and innocent joy. There is something so fascinating about sweet innocence that captivates people. Seeing the happiness my child brings to others is nothing shy of amazing. It is now something I really enjoy watching and get so excited about when it happens. I see her making peoples day and it makes my day. She spreads positivity wherever she goes and makes other people happy, and I love that. People just see a baby and smile, they can’t help it. I am thankful that time has made it easier for me to adjust to this new kind of experience, because it definitely took awhile to get used to.
Mama’s: I know it may seem annoying or you are too protective of your infant, but just know for the future how much potential joy your child has not only to give you, but to give others. By giving that elderly old lady the time of day and letting her interact with your child you could be making her whole day or even year.
What are your experiences with this? How do you feel about these situations?