Head First

I wonder when the kids will figure out just how shy I really am. Sometimes interacting with people feels about as natural as running chest deep in water. It’s awkward, exhausting and I risk drowning every time I open my mouth.

My kids, on the other hand, thrive on long, drawn out conversations with strangers. Like the one they had last week with a man and his wife whom we met while walking home from school. The man was on crutches, and was carefully making his way along the sidewalk; his wife steady and watchful by his side. The boys immediately struck up a conversation with them, and we quickly learned that the man recently had his knee replaced, so he was using crutches while he learned to walk again.  Somehow the boys took that to mean he had been given a robotic knee, and they practically fell over with excitement. Questions spilled forth, and it took some effort to pry them away from their new friend.

Just when I thought we were on our way, Isaac stopped and called out, “My mom was on crutches when she was a kid. She had a problem with her knee, too.” The couple paused and looked at me curiously. I could feel my cheeks begin to burn.

“The crutches were too big,” Isaac continued. “They belonged to her dad, so she couldn’t walk very well with them. That’s why she fell in the garbage.” There was an awkward silence while Isaac looked excitedly at the couple then back to me.

I forced a short laugh and my face instantly caught fire. “Head first,” I smiled. The man and his wife exchanged a startled glance. “You’re doing great though!” I said encouragingly. “Much better than me. I’m sure you’ll be fine.”

Gabriel looked up at me then with a look of concern. “But Mom,” he said. “It’s garbage day! There are garbage cans EVERYWHERE! I think the woman should carry him home on her back.” I could hear the couple chuckling as they walked off together. I love my little extroverts. I think we probably all have a lot to learn from each other though.

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