As I continued to wait, another mother and daughter approached the counter to join the crowd’s anticipation for lunch meat. The first duo was called up, and the little girl noticed her peer, approached her, and vibrantly said, “Hi! My name’s Frankie! What’s your name?”
Little girl number one, dressed in a pink leotard shirt, Hanna Montana jacket, and black pants, glanced at her mother for reassurance, eyebrows cautiously raised as she slightly fidgeted, her right hand nervously pinching her lip. Then, glancing back at Frankie, softly, almost inaudibly, said her name was Brittany. Child chit-chat ensued, and we adults glanced on as topics of dance and their bed-sets were highlighted. Brittany, obviously shy, continued to glance back at her mother in timidity.
Frankie, not letting up, continued to chat enthusiastically. She noticed a ladybug on Brittany’s attire and painted nails, then energetically shared a story of when her mother saved a ladybug in their pool. One day, as they were swimming, Frankie had spotted a ladybug in the water, prompting her mother to save its life. “Right mom?!” she confirmed. Her mother, beaming with pride for her daughter’s compassion and memory, nodded. Brittany, still quiet, seemed less tense.
An elderly woman standing next to me, who obviously overheard the children’s encounter, received her cold cuts and, before leaving, smiled at me saying, “They’re so social at this age! They’ll talk to anybody.” With a reflected grin, I watched her walk away.
As I still waited for my number, little Brittany continually stared in my direction. I gave a nurturing smile and glanced back at the counter then back at Brittany, who still held eye contact, perceptively.
Number 64, finally, was called. My shopping endeavor had ended, and the rain had stopped. As I drove home, I could feel my dried lenses begin to pry themselves off my eyes, and within seconds of entering the doorway, they were removed. I could finally see clearly.
All too often, we become consumed within our own problems and annoyances, so much, that we dry out our own eyes and forget to gain perspective, ignoring the simplest of things put in our paths. Is it a coincidence that amongst a crowd of tense, overworked, impatient adults, two 4-year-old girls, without a care in the world, had a conversation about a ladybug rescue, where childhood innocence and human compassion intermingled?
Maybe these strangers really are my lessons.