Yesterday didn’t start out well.
Owen, my 3-year-old grandson, was parked in front of the TV because his mama didn’t feel well and his Nana and Mimi were busy working.
By afternoon, I was grumbly. The morning had flown by without me getting much done. I was surprised (and, I’ll admit disappointed) that my HuffPost Books interview with actor Maria Bello didn’t get much traction on the Internet. And if I heard the theme song to Dora the Explorer one more time I was going to lose my mind.
And then it dawned on me that I could take the afternoon off. Just hang out with my grandboy. Get out of the house and away from things that don’t matter–like Tweets and Facebook “likes.”
I had all sorts of plans for what we would do, but we ended up doing ordinary things. Haircuts. Lunch at a fast-food place with a play area. Grocery store. Ben & Jerry’s for ice cream.
In each one of those ordinary places, the extraordinary happened.
Human kindnesses everywhere.
Rikki, our hairstylist at Sport Clips, traded in the root beer Dum Dum sucker Owen had picked out (and hated) for the Charms Blow pop he really wanted, paying for it out of her own pocket.
While I got my haircut, a man sitting in the waiting area honored Owen’s request to read to him.
In the play area at the fast-food restaurant, Owen and another little boy played as if they’d been friends for a lifetime. He then played with other kids, big and small, each calling out, “Bye, Owen,” when it was time for them to leave.
At the grocery store, my grandson “drove” the car in the shopping “buggy,” as they call them down South. For most of the trip, he was a police officer. When he called out to shoppers and store clerks along the way, they happily interacted with him.
When we went for ice cream, we sat outside, my pocket full of coins for Owen to toss into the nearby fountain. I heard Owen ask a toddler’s dad if he had any coins, and when the man said “No,” Owen handed him a few. The man seemed truly grateful and delighted that he could now watch his own boy toss coins into the fountain.
Back at home, his mama feeling better, Owen fingerpainted while his mom filled a canvas with her first painting since before he was born.
The work still waited for me. The HuffPost blog still sat mostly unread. And Dora’s theme song remained in my head.
But I didn’t care.
I didn’t care at all.
“Nana, why do you keep singing the Dora song?”
“Because I can’t get it out of my head. Do you know how I can get that song out of my head?”
“Well you shake your head from side to side. Then flap your arms. And put your hands behind your back. Try that.”
“Hey I think that worked. Thanks, Owen.”