A friend called a few weeks ago and asked me for a favor. She has another friend that likes to come and take her daughter for a girls night. Her daughter is 2 1/2. She has a son who is 4 1/2. She called to see if I would come and take him out for awhile so he isn't left behind while his sister goes off with a friend. Since her kids adore me and her son actually brought that up last time I had been there, I readily agreed. I proceeded to forget entirely what day that might occur on. She called today a little after 1. I was extremely glad that I had not made other plans!
I picked him up and went to McDonald's. This kid is adorable. He is all boy and he has his own will that shows up strong from time to time, but he is incredibly sweet and loving. I got to see the sweet and loving part in full force today. He wanted a specific toy at McDs and I said "We can ask for it, but they might not have it, so you'll have to take whichever one they give you." He semi nodded and I fully expected an incident when he opened his happy meal. He did not get the toy he wanted and he did not freak out in any way shape or form.
I asked him on the way over what he wanted to eat and he said cheeseburger. I asked if he was going to eat first and then play or if he wanted to play and eat. At first he said play and eat, but then I suggested eating first because the cheeseburger would get cold. If he had wanted nuggets or something I would have happily let him eat and play at the same time, because i'm that indulgent friend that has no problem spoiling your kids absolutely rotten before sending them back. However, when I mentioned the cold cheeseburger possibility he actually agreed. And then when we got our food and sat down, he happily sat there and with reasonable slowness ate his whole cheeseburger. And made silly faces etc at the little boy at the next table. He never asked if he could go play he never whined or complained, nothing.
He made friends with a little girl who was there, the only other kid to play with really, and they played hide-n-seek for a bit. He played along very nicely! I noted a few times during the night how polite he was and how obedient he was and I praised him highly for it. I thought a couple of times what a sweet and well-behaved boy my friend was raising. And I texted that to her because I knew he had not been so well-behaved earlier in the day.
He hasn't experienced loss yet. He hasn't been terribly disillusioned by the unfairness of this world yet. He hasn't endured medical treatments for something he couldn't possibly understand, nor has he had to watch anyone in his life undergo that. There is a sweetness to that kind of innocence. Almost like it carries a fragrance or a sound. We lose that as we grow up and experience those things. And some of it we should lose because in the world we live in, maintaining that degree of innocence is quite dangerous. But I think we could all be a lot more hopeful if we could simply enjoy a few rounds of hide-n-seek with a new friend. If we could enjoy an afternoon away from our normal routine with a dear one. If we could walk in whatever weather we have and be glad that we are properly clothed and mobile under our own power and breathing clean air in a safe country. If we could look at the blue sky and marvel at the shade. If we could look at the many cloud types and formations and tints and be amazed. If we could listen to a song and be reminded that we are not alone in this world. I've heard it said "Hope Springs Eternal." I think this is most true for the young and innocence. May you spend your Sunday recapturing the innocence and hope of youth.