If you are driving or walking around your neighbourhood and you see a child with big, dark brown eyes, a lopsided beanie, boots on the wrong feet and mismatched mitts, waving at you, please don't worry. That's my kid. He has become our neighbourhood welcome wagon. I have seen so many people take a second look or squint through their windshield, when this small boy waves his arm or yells out "Hello!". Trying to figure out if they know him or how he knows them. Then, contemplating the split second decision of whether to wave or say hello back. And I will give it to people. Majority of the time, even if it is with a look of confusion, they respond back. I figure those who don't are just total monsters.
This baby doesn't limit his stranger salutations to our neighbourhood. He can be seen waving in parking lots, out of the window of our car, and in Zoom meetings. In fact, he has appeared in several Teams work meetings. He makes sure to impart the newest kindergarten data. He has also become an honorary member of my husband's virtual poker nights. Marching into the frame, in his pyjamas, with the familiar -"Hey guys!" Then, sharing tales of all of the events that have happened in his life for the week and which boss fights he has won, in which video games. In turn, all of my co-workers and all of my husband's friends say hello back and listen to all of his anecdotes. I mean, they're not monsters!
The truth of the matter is that, although this pandemic has been tough for all four of us, this sweet baby has struggled with the social isolation the most. He has always been one who looks for physical contact and affection. When he was smaller, he used to run up and hug strangers in the park. The poor person, caught of guard and probably assuming that they had been mistaken for this cherub-faced boy's parents. My husband and I horrified and apologizing, knowing very well that he didn't understand the concept of boundaries and just felt that he wanted to hug that person, or alternately that that person needed a hug, and went for it. This, of course, leading to several conversations on the way home from the playground about stranger danger and personal space. Chubby cheeks and dark eyes nodding in acknowledgement, until the next time we are out and he embraced a stranger.
So, listen. If you see a wide-eyed boy, jumping up and down and waving at you, when you drive by, don't be a monster! Wave back. Or if he walks past you on the street and says hello, do the right thing. Say hi back. Or, if his sweet head appears in your online meeting, give him a nod. Anything! This is how this beautiful baby is coping with the lack of physical contact. It could have been worse. If this had been a year ago, he very well could have ran up to you and wrapped his tiny arms around you. Knocking you backwards with his ardor. On the bright side, the pandemic has given us time to work on stranger danger, while our little continues his stranger salutations.
Does Mommy need to loser her shit?
Not this week.