He looked a little nervous at first, but then I saw him walk up to another kid, introduce himself, ask the kid what his name is, and shake his hand! Then the two of them sat down and started working on a puzzle together. Just like that.
The second part of the positivity regimen in that article I mentioned yesterday is to see the good in other people. I actually do feel I do that to some degree already, as I'm usually the one willing to give people I know the benefit of the doubt. But sometimes, I am quick to judge people I don't know, and I realized, watching older child make a new friend, that I don't do it to the degree I should, or, to the the degree he does. I must have been different once, when I was older child's age, when I first met my best friend as I wrote about yesterday.
It's not that I don't have friends now, because I am fortunate to have some good ones. But I will also admit that I don't always try hard enough to make new ones. There were some parents I saw last year every single day at older child's preschool and never had an actual conversation with.
So yesterday, I kissed older child goodbye, and then I stood outside the classroom for a few minutes, watching, to make sure he was really okay. Next to me was a woman, a stranger, who I realized was doing the same. If older child could make a new friend, just like that, then could I?
I did something that I normally would not have: I introduced myself, and then we started talking, each pointing out our children to the other, chatting about our feelings about leaving them there for the first day, and what that was going to mean for both of us. I learned that she had done this before, that this was her youngest, not her oldest child, and somehow, that made me feel better. As I walked away, I felt good, not sad. I felt older child would be fine, and I would be just fine.
On the way home I thought about the way I see other people and the way they might see me. And I thought about how older child had taught me something, that connecting with people we don't know is easier than we think it is. That seeing the good in people doesn't only mean giving them the benefit of the doubt, but also opening yourself up to new friendships without hesitation.