Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Gift of Welcome

Sometimes he dashes to the driveway naked with arms stretched high, hands signing applause or waving hello while he shouts a greeting, sometimes he races to the front and stands silently watching until the mammoth truck passes out of sight, but always, when he hears the garbage truck coming down the street , Isaac runs outside to watch, admire, and greet the sanitation team that picks up trash. I realized several weeks agot that these men now call him by name with huge hello's, honk the horn for him and wave - more than once - from the cab as well as the back. It is pretty obvious they love being greeted by Isaac, and I realize that even though he is only two years old, Isaac exercises great power when he gives them the wonderful gift of welcome.

For fifteen years now our little terrier, Thompson has been greeting me with great enthusiasm each time I return home - whether I've been gone for 5 days or 5 minutes. Sometimes, when he kept barking for more! more! more! loving, I would think "enough already!" but on a few days I would think, " you're the only one in my life who is always glad to see me."

I am lucky to have had parents who habitually kissed each other good-bye when one left the house without the other and greeted each other in like manner when they returned home. That simple act bestowed a sense of normalcy and stability upon us children that I'm sure we took for granted then, and give thanks for now as married adults. My husband and I decided early in our marriage that we needed to continue that tradition whether we were happy or disgusted with each other, and though our good-bye hugs and welcome kisses have been perfunctory or angry at times, we find that neither of us has out-grown our need of them.

I remember determining as a young mother to help my husband, David, feel loved and appreciated when he came home at night by stopping whatever chore I was doing, calling a hearty "Daddy's home!" to our two boys, and helping them stop their play for a moment to welcome Dad home. David often made his entrance back home extra special by a signature whistle pattern that he reserved for ONLY our sons. He would pull up quietly, get out of his truck, sneak behind something to hide and begin to whistle his "call". The delight in their eyes when they realized Daddy was nearby and ready to play was priceless.

Smiling a welcome seems to come naturally to our two grandsons, largely, I think, because our daughter-in-love, who has been able to be a stay-at-home-mom, has routinely offered them huge smiles of affirmation from their births on, whenever they wake from a nap, finish an activity together, or catch her eye in passing. It's a joy to see even the 4 month old initiate a smile when he catches a family member's eye and take such delight when the smile is returned.

Smiling at others did not come naturally to me - perhaps a common trait of serious intuitives - so I have had to learn it as a married adult under my husband's kind tutelage. I have watched him interact with strangers for years, witnessing the power of his welcoming smile upon others.

Strange, isn't it, that something that costs us so little, can give others so much?












1 comment:

Kyle Cullum said...

'perhaps a common trait of serious intuitives'
that is an awesome phrase the way you meant it, but it also has double meaning.
a. someone who is serious about being intuitive
b. someone who is both serious and intuitive
mom, i think you fall into both a and b.
now don't be to serious or intuitive when you read this comment, i think i'm being funny