It’s embarrassing to the wrong person. Not to me.
My mom has this habit of making friends wherever she goes. She looks them in the eye. She asks about their families. She gets to know them. Lana the customer service representative from Walgreens. Linda the administrative professional at the local school district. Mary the librarian. Georgia the checkout clerk at the grocery store.
Lana. Linda. Mary. Georgia. And that’s not all. I think dad finds it kind of silly, but I kind of like it. It stems from her belief in respecting the person behind the people you encounter every day.
And it happened again at the dog park today when we encountered familiar faces attached to both two-legged and four-legged personalities. She chatted with some of the other owners while I roughhoused with Luke (the Marmaduke), chased Lilly (the Carin Terrier mix), and (ahem) did some unspeakable things to an unprepared Beagle mix named Daisy.
Amidst the chaos of all of my usual dog park mischief, I heard her laughing with the other ladies and paused. I wondered in that moment what could happen if I too adopted this philosophy of putting myself in the stranger’s shoes. Being present with others, no matter how small a role they play in my life.
I took a long look at Luke, who (at the age of 12) has become somewhat of a legend at my dog park. He is wise in his older age, and is kind enough to humor little stinkers like me nipping at his heels. Lilly the Carin Terrier mix has a similar background to me, coming from a rescue. She is a big sister to two little people and (from what I can tell when we play chase) I’m sure she takes very good care of them. And Daisy. Well, she is beautiful. She reminds me of my dearest long lost (somewhat girlfriend) Taffy who lives far away now.
Luke. Lilly. Daisy. These are characters in my life, each with their own story making up their unique journey. I think that’s easy to forget sometimes, amidst the roughhousing, chasing and other distractions in our day. Sure, life is busy, but every now and then I need a reminder that life is busy for everyone. Every character we come across in our day has his or her own family and friends, stressors and joys.
It’s an interesting cycle really. The characters bring joy to my mom who brings joy to them. Because taking time to indulge in these little conversations can be just that. An indulgence in interpersonal relationships. And that’s nothing to be embarrassed about if you ask me.