Posted by: Viola | October 1, 2014

Lessons from a Little Boy

A few years ago, in the late summer and fall, I visited Europe and spent a few days at the house of a young Cameroonian couple. Their son was a few months shy of his second birthday. A toddler, but he was walking and running gracefully, and he was quiet but learning to talk. A very cute toddler. A little gentleman.

One evening, during a dinner gathering at his house, his parents hosted a dozen or so Cameroonian guests. There was delicious Cameroonian food on the table, mostly prepared by his mother. There was eru and fufu. There was a steaming pot of ekwang. There was an assortment of barbecued meats prepared by the little boy’s father. And there were beverages and glasses and plates and cutlery all set out for the guests. Everything was ready and the dinner gathering unfolded with lots of conversations and laughter.

I sat down on the sofa, next to the dining area. I sat alone, facing the television and not doing very much but enjoying the atmosphere. Sitting on the sidelines. Making myself scarce, you could say. Suddenly, the little boy, who had been walking around the room and being greeted or hugged by the guests, came over to the sofa. I said hello to him, and he clambered up onto the sofa. I smiled at him, happy for his company. And then he came right up to my face and planted a quick kiss on my lips.

Everyone in the room let out a collective sigh of surprise. “Wow!” they all gasped. And I was just as surprised as everyone in the room. His mom smiled and said the little boy had found a sweetheart. And I smiled. This was a very sweet and unexpected and generous gesture. And it made me happy. I can be quite shy in social situations and the little boy made me feel like I was the most honored guest in the entire room.

I work as a nanny and kids always amaze me. I am constantly on the lookout for the surprisingly kind and welcoming things that children often do. And when a baby or toddler gives me a kiss, I know that this means the child sees me as part of the family, as someone trusted and loved. The little boy’s gesture touched my heart. But I was just a visitor, like everyone else in the room. There was nothing special about me, and I was puzzled. Everyone was puzzled. Why me? Why did he single me out for a kiss?

I was about to chalk it all up to the fact that kids can sense I am a nanny. Kids can sense that I am very protective and supportive of them, and so they are often drawn to me. Maybe this little boy thought I was a nice person. I was just about to make that my final conclusion, but his mother exclaimed, “Ahah! I know why he kissed you. You look like his cousins. They are mixed [biracial] and when they visit, they play a lot together and are very affectionate toward him, giving him tons of hugs and kisses. He must look at you and see the resemblance, the way your skin looks like theirs. He must think you are just another one of his cousins! A new cousin has arrived and so a kiss is warranted!”

I beamed. And I said to the little boy, “Thank you.” And in my heart, I said another silent “Thank you” and also whispered, “We are family.” Yes, indeed. We are all family. This was the beautiful message conveyed by his gesture, his spontaneous and unreserved decision to treat me as family.

What a singular moment. I won’t be forgetting it anytime soon. ❤

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Responses

  1. That is such an apt description of that evening it sent my mind twirling and whirling with memories. Thank you. My little boy was so besotted with you, he would do yoga poses with you, and cuddle with you for lengthy sessions. Beautiful memories. Thank you.

    • It’s strange but reading this and remembering that moment makes me very emotional, brings tears to my eyes…. ❤

  2. This is beautiful, I almost teared up and it wasn’t even me. Keep writing xx

    • Thank you so much! It was a beautiful and timeless moment. I wish for many more unexpected and perfect moments like these throughout my life. ❤


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