Open Arms

I took Oliver and Iris to a new park yesterday. When we got there, right away I saw that there were two young girls and a baby there. Normally, the introvert inside of me would leave and go to a different park, where there was no other people. But Oliver had already seen the park and I knew that he would freak out if we left, so I stayed and just hoped that these girls would just leave us alone. No small talk, no interaction whatsoever.

That was definitely not the case.

As soon as we got to the playground, the younger girl came right up and said hi. I nicely gave a quick hi back and turned my attention back to Oliver, hoping she would get the hint.

Instead, she asks “Can I hold your baby?”

Uhm, what?!

In today’s society, most adults know by now that you don’t dare TOUCH a strangers newborn baby, let alone ask to hold it. This girl clearly did not know that, as she looked at me straight in the eyes, waiting for an answer.

Every overprotective mom instinct told me to tell her no. Every introvert part of me wanted to tell her no. Everything inside of me wanted to SCREAM no. But instead, out of my mouth came, “Yeah, of course!”

I know, all of you mothers out there, including my own, are probably all cringing at the fact that I let a young stranger hold my two week old daughter. “She could have dropped her!” “You don’t even know her!” “GERMS!!!”

I know, I can’t believe I let it happen myself.

But the look in her eyes as she was holding my baby was enough to let me forget any of the doubts and concerns I had. She was full of straight JOY as she looked Iris up and down. Noting the fact that she had my red hair, but other than that didn’t look a thing like me. (I kindly argued that she did.) She then invited her friend with the baby over and they both looked on, asking me every question in the book. Slowly but surely my wall that was keeping me hidden, was finally starting to come down. Enough so that I learned a little about them myself. I learned that they were both from Mississippi and were staying with a friend in Iowa for the summer. I learned that Alexis, the younger one (we finally got on first name terms), just recently became an older sister to a baby boy and she LOVES babies- which explains why she was so quick to ask to hold mine. I learned that her friend was actually the mom to the other baby at the park, Roman, who was 8 months old but the size of my two year old.

Had I left that park before even getting out of the car, I wouldn’t of had this moment. Had I let my shyness and inability to meet new people take over, I wouldn’t of had this moment. Had I listened to society’s stance on who can and can’t hold my child, I wouldn’t of had this moment.

This moment of opening my arms out enough to let somebody else in, even just to make small talk. Even just to learn a name and remember a face, the face of a young girl who’s day was made over a simple act of kindness and letting go.

Part of me has been wanting to go back to that park, in hopes that those girls will be there again. To say hi. To get to know them more. To invite them to youth group. To open my arms out to them because they may not have somebody that does. Heck, I may even let them hold my baby again.

-J

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