He can even make friends with cheese.

I’ve never been a very outgoing person. Before having kids I had my friends that I hung out with and never really made an effort to engage with anyone outside of my circle. When I became pregnant with my oldest, that all changed. As a young mom, strangers were happy to give me their advice, regardless of whether or not I asked for it. As my son got older, he enjoyed the attention more and more. When he was able to talk, he’d talk to anyone who would listen.

It’s hard to put your head down and get your grocery shopping done and go home when your kid wants to tell his life story to everyone he meets. It’s also kind of impossible to have any secrets, because wherever you go, anyone within 20 feet of you will hear them joyfully announced by a two year old. After a while you stop wearing blush when you leave the house because there’s no need – your cheeks will be a lovely shade of pink soon enough.

It’s not all bad, though. How many of you can say you’ve met someone and become good friends with them in a matter of minutes? My kids do that almost daily at the park. We’ve even gotten discounts or free things at restaurants because of the outright friendliness and positive demeanor of my oldest son. He just becomes instant buddies with everyone he meets, no matter their age.

A few days ago on one of our trips to Trader Joe’s, his tooth fell out as he was eating a slice of apple that the woman giving out samples sliced just for him. During the rest of our trip he proceeded to show and tell everyone else in the store. No one seemed to be as grossed-out as I was – in fact, almost everyone of them looked at me smiling and said “he’s so cute,” as we walked away.

His eagerness to share in the joy of life is what touches people. Because of this, I’ve really had to change my outlook on things as simple as running errands. It’s not about getting things done as quickly as possible anymore, it’s about being a person and interacting and being kind. I have even made a few new friends along the way, thanks to my kid. Although I’m occasionally embarrassed by his lack of a filter on what is appropriate and not appropriate to tell people, I’m proud of the special boy I’ve raised.

Have any of your children ever changed the way you look at simple things?

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When I'm not writing, I'm cleaning up after my three very messy boys, ages 7, 4, and 1. If I had to describe myself in just one sentence: Slightly crunchy, a little crazy and always exhausted.

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6 Responses to How my son taught me to open up

  1. What a beautiful and positive way to look at things. It is amazing what kids can really teach us and help us to slow down in this age where we are constantly on the go and are so guarded. Though our own kids drive us crazy, they can also be so sweet and caring.

  2. Resa says:

    I’m just coming to grips with this myself, and having encountered your son and seeing this in action (seriously, how many older kids buddy up with one-year-olds without treating them as inferiors?!), I can see how he’d draw you out of your shell.

  3. This is so great! As Moms we always tend to make a bigger deal out of things than need to be. I am guilty of it too. I am always afraid that they are bothering someone or too loud or too silly, when they’re just kids being kids. Typically no one else around you cares or most people find them to be innocent and cute. It’s funny because the Moms are the ones that are probably even more annoying by repeating themselves over and over telling their kids not to do something, or to be quiet.

    • Exactly! I realized that shushing my child and trying to keep them away from people just makes me look like a mean mom. And the absolute last thing I ever want to do is stifle my child!

  4. That kid is awesome. I had the pleasure of meeting him three years ago and look forward to seeing him and Jackson again (AND MEETING MORGAN AWWWZ).

    Oh yeah, and you and Andrew too, I guess. :D

  5. Beautiful! My son is called Mr. Social and will chat with anyone. It can be a hassle at times but in the end it makes me happy to see the smiles he brings to peoples faces when he says hello.

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