My kids are natural born greeters. They have rarely come upon a stranger that they do not want to say "hi" to. This is especially true for Hudson.
Once again, this is just another way that children differ from me. Don't get me wrong, I consider myself to be a friendly person....to my friends. I can't even think of the last time that I just randomly greeted a stranger. Hudson won't have that problem, in fact during our afternoon shopping trip yesterday I counted 27 separate "hi's". That is not even including repeat greetings. Once it became apparent that this would not be a fleeting phase, I started to feel slightly uncomfortable with the overfriendly greetings. I felt like he was invading people's privacy zones and I really enjoy my own area of personal space and privacy. So I started to find myself apologizing to strangers because my kids can't resist saying hello to them. He is a very persistent little boy. If his initial greeting is ignored, he looks perplexed, thinks about it and decides that they must not have heard him. He remedies this with an even bigger smile and a much louder "hi". So finally yesterday around Hi 18, I decided that my hang up about the overeager greeter was exactly that... my hang up and not his.
My mom tells me that as a little kid, I was not the warmest of children (don't be shocked). I was very selective about who I smiled at and they really had to earn it. While I don't think that there is anything wrong with that, it has however, made me feel unprepared to handle two kids at the opposite end of that friendliness spectrum.
I am amazed at my boys' ability to bring joy to complete strangers. I defy anyone to resist the charm of a blissfully happy toddler yelling, "Hi!" to you. Old, young, short, tall, human or mannequin, everyone gets the same loving greeting. It really transcends all language barriers, so far I have noticed that we have greeted and gotten responses from people speaking, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean and what I believed to be Romanian. He is like a tiny one man United Nations. They just cannot resist that perma-grin and little high pitched voice. The boys go every week on a field trip with Ms. Karen to the assisted living facility. This is one of the highlights of Connor's week, he loves to visit the "wesidents" and according to Connor, little man is the life of the party. I'm sure he thinks he is in heaven with all those grandmas and grandpas to greet and love on.
Over the last couple of months, I have tried to really pay attention to the public's reaction to these joyous greetings and sure, there are some grumps out there that really go out of their way to ignore the happy hi and that's okay. We will wear you down eventually :) These are not boys that are easily discouraged. I am always surprised by how many harried, stressed and unhappy looking shoppers walk away from a brief encounter with my boys with a totally different expression on their face. Sometimes confusion, sometimes amusement but almost always a smile. As most things in motherhood do, it took me a while but I finally got it. My boys have the spiritual gift of friendliness and that is a wonderful thing, especially since their mother doesn't. So while I am still searching for what my gift might be, I get to learn from watching my sons use theirs every day.
So if you happen to wander into our favorite local donut shop (which we believe we own) on a Saturday morning, there is a good chance you will be greeted by our favorite Vietnamese donut makers and their two blond "honorary sons" wearing paper hats and working the counter handing out "Hi's" and donut holes in equal measure. Most definitely service with a smile :)