I've been "noticing nice" lately.
It started at Cam's preschool. There was this awkward moment when--after giving me stacks of forms to fill out and papers to sign--Cam's special education teacher held my
hand. I kind of pulled away but then wasn't sure what to do so I made my hand resemble a dead fish and did nothing! But then I realized
it was kind of nice to have someone care so much and so I held her hand
back and I found myself feeling comforted and calmed. Funny how "awkward" morphed to "okay." It became the moment when I knew everything was going to be alright.
Later that afternoon, I ran into my looney neighbor. I will spare you the sordid details of all his drunken stupors and unfortunate miscreations. Nor will I recount the number of times his children have been in jail for drugs. (A lot.) All that "stuff" aside, I ran into him in our community's parking lot. He asked me how my baby was doing and told me I looked "really good" for having "just had a baby." I reminded him that I had actually had my baby more than six months ago. He looked surprised and I laughed to myself, knowing our "friendly neighborhood drunk" was...well...drunk. A few seconds passed before he smiled at me and said, "Well! You look great!" He followed it with a, "Maybe you should go eat something." I laughed and thought, "Aw, he was trying to be nice...and nice counts for something."
Nice matters. Nice is important. Nice is necessary. (Especially in a world that is not so nice sometimes!) Nice changes everything.
Right before dinner (and out of nowhere!), it became imperative to Lilly to deliver love notes to some of her friends who live on our small street. Initially I sighed at the inconvenience of this project. I had spaghetti to make and a baby to feed. But instead I watched as she rounded up sheets of paper from various desk drawers; even snatching a couple from the computer's printer. I watched as she drew hearts and flowers all over them, and included sweet sentiments like, "I love you," and, "I'm glad we're friends." And lastly, I watched her skinny little legs (in pink polka dot tights and a green, flamingo-print skirt) walk from door to door to door. I stood on my front porch and used my hand to shield my eyes from the end-of-the-day sunlight; I watched as she delivered her notes to her loved ones.
Because she needed them to know how she feels about them.
I'm certainly not perfect, and truthfully, I'm not always nice. I have been down and depressed. I have been in dark places and on painful paths. I have been grumpy, seeking to sulk like "Gloomy Ol' Eeyore." I have known the struggles of being kind and happy in the midst of sorrow...
But I know I can try. I can always try to be nice. Every day. To everyone. And I can raise children who try, too. They can learn it through my example. I will have succeeded as a mother if I raise nice children.
Because nice matters.