I was dreading tonight. Sunday night I came home to find a leak in one of the bathroom pipes and, having been out of town since Saturday morning, the bathroom, kitchen and part of my bedroom floor were soaked. I had to use all of my towels and blankets to clean up all the water and, unfortunately, I do not have a washer and dryer in my apartment. When I loaded all the laundry in the car, I realized I had seven loads that needed washing. I was flustered and hated the idea of how much of my, already limited, free time laundry was going to take. After two hours of washing, drying and folding, I was exhausted and just wanted to get home to relax.

I was carrying the first load into the house when I noticed two little blonde girls walking up the sidewalk. They were whispering and giggling back and forth to one another. As I passed them to get another load from my car, I smiled and said hello. They beamed from ear to ear and one of the little girls said, “I really like your hair, it’s beautiful”. I smiled, thanked her and let them both know that I thought their braids looked beautiful, too.

When I grabbed the last load and turned to walk towards the house, both the girls were laughing and giggling even more so than they had been before. And then I realized, I was giggling and smiling from ear to ear too, in complete unison with them. It’s amazing how something so simple and small completely made my entire day.

In that moment, after such a small interaction, I was reminded of a few things. First, how simple it is to make children smile – I probably made their night by smiling at them and mentioning how much I liked their braids. They, most likely, were not expecting me to respond – let alone in such a friendly manor. Second, how much kids pay attention when you don’t realize it. I hadn’t even noticed them looking directly at me until I almost bumped into them with my bags. For them to have even noticed my hair, while I was completely flustered and in such a rush, says so much.

The simplest, kindest smiles from those girls put me at such ease. They reminded me of my childhood self; carefree and curious, filled with adventure and nothing in my way. No stresses or road blocks – no reason to be in a hurry – no reason to feel defeated. Nothing to be concerned of or worry about, aside from what outfit I might wear to school the following day or if I’d remember the moves to my cheerleading routine. It reminded me of the nurturing, kid-friendly heart I have. It reminded me how much I want to be a mother or step-mother someday; how much I want to have children in my life.

Unfortunately, it also made me realize how easy it is to forget about the little things when we are so wrapped up in the chaos of our day-to-day lives. Make sure you’re taking time for those things; don’t be afraid to smile at someone and say hello. You never know whose day you’re going to make or turn from bad to good.

All too often we take those simple things for granted and, before you know it, those are the things we need, the things we crave and the little moments we wish we could have in our lives again the most.

– Danyle L. M. 5/10/16
(Featured image is my 5 year old self)