small things: the crossing guard

Every morning I get up, get the kids ready, and drive my son to school.  Some days we are on time, a lot of the time we are just-that-bit-too-late-dangit.

Every morning I drive past one of the local schools, and every morning the crossing guard is there, helping kids and their parents cross the street safely.  And every morning she has a smile on her face, waving to the people in the cars as they pass by.

I used to just pretend not to notice her, mostly because I was embarrassed for being late all the time.  Then I figured that wasn’t fair for her, so I started waving back and making eye contact.  Although you may not guess it, sometimes it is difficult for me to reach out to strangers.  I feel tentative and unsure – I really want people to like me and I am disappointed when they don’t.  Smiling at a complete stranger on the street was a stretch for me, but I am so glad that I did.

Now, every morning, this crossing guard smiles at me and I smile back.  And the mornings when I am most grateful for her smiles are the mornings when I am running late, frustrated with the kids, and generally unkempt.  Because I know that she will be there to wave me on my way, regardless of my own personal circumstances.

So Madame Crossing Guard, thank you.  Please keep up the exceptional work.

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