I don’t think I’ve mentioned this in the blog yet, but this past August we left our kids at home alone overnight for the first time ever.
Sir Monkeypants and I went to Toronto for the night for my cousin’s wedding, which was fun and laid back and delightful. Man, I just love a wedding!
The kids weren’t invited, and we were originally thinking we’d take them down with us and lock them in a hotel room somewhere while we went to the wedding, then haul them all home the next day. But the more we thought about it, the more that seemed silly, so we offered to let them stay alone for the 36 hours we’d be gone. They managed to keep their excitement to a minimum but agreed to the plan before we even stopped talking, so I’m guessing they were pretty pumped about the whole idea.
While we were at the actual wedding — this was during the bride and groom’s speech at the reception — Sir Monkeypants’ phone rang. It was Gal Smiley and she was upset.
I won’t go into what was wrong here, but I will say that it is very unusual for her to be upset in any way, ever. And it’s even more unusual for her to call for help under any circumstances, let alone when she felt she might be interrupting us at an important event. So this was A Big Deal, and I was worried about it.
I took the phone and asked her to hang on for a second and then I walked out of the reception room to look for a quiet place to talk to her.
On the way I had to pass several of the bar and serving staff that worked at the hotel where the reception was being held. I thought I did a pretty good job of giving them small nods and wry smiles that would lead them to believe that I was just stepping out to use the bathroom or something, no problem here.
I found a space down the hallway a ways, and sat on the floor with my back against the wall, and started to do some remote parenting, reassuring Gal Smiley that everything would be okay.
But I didn’t get too far into talking to Gal Smiley before two of the staff, a man and a woman, appeared right in front of me with concerned faces. They apologized for interrupting me but said that they just wanted to make sure I was okay, and ask if there was anything at all they could do to help. I’m not sure if they read trouble on my face, or maybe could hear my kid being upset on the phone as I walked past, but somehow they knew that something was up.
And then they actually did something about it – approached a stranger to see if she was alright.
I assured them everything was fine and I was okay. And I was – it took a while, but I helped Gal Smiley with her problem and calmed her down and we chatted for a while and I sent her some funny memes to laugh at and it ended happily, and I went back to the wedding.
But I keep thinking back to those two kind, friendly faces looking down on me with such concern, over what turned out to be a fairly small thing. They didn’t have to do that. They didn’t have to follow up, especially when I (think I) didn’t give much of an outward sign that something was terribly wrong.
Those were some really, really nice people, who did a really, really nice thing, at a moment when I really needed to see a nice, friendly face. And I’ll always remember it, maybe at low times, maybe at hard times, maybe when I’ve messed up and I know I’m going to brood for a while.
It’s important, I think, to make a note of it when something really excellent happens. Because it’s so easy to remember the crap, and so hard to remember the good in the world. This one little thing was good, and I’m going to hang on to it.