I’m telling a story today about why I decided to be kind hearted one evening. A story about how being kind hearted can truly change your perspective and make you really think of the reasons behind your actions.
I wasn’t always a homebody. Parenthood has had a way of doing that to me. I fell into a comfortable routine of dinner, bath and bedtime. When those silent moments are finally upon me and I just want to sip on a cup of tea (or glass of wine) and curl up on the couch to watch the latest episode of Nashville or The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Putting on makeup and heels after listening to “I don’t like that!” through dinner, arguing with a three and six year old through bath time duty, and dealing with the usual stall tactics for sometimes up to an hour is just the last thing I want come seven o’clock. Night after night of the same routine quickly made my comfort zone my home. The comfortable feeling of my soft slippers, listening to my husband snore and enjoying every bit of quiet I can soak up in a moment is more like my kind of night.
Rewind life about 10-12 years and I was at a local bar or eatery every Friday or Saturday night. Meeting friends, dancing, enjoying every bit of my twenties that I could. When I settled down with my husband we ate out 3-4 times a week and my best friend would randomly call me on the way home from work and convinced me to meet her at our favorite restaurant for dinner and drinks. I’d quickly text my, well then boyfriend that I wouldn’t be home for dinner, I’d roll down the window and sing at the top of my lungs without even the thought of curling up on the couch reaching for the remote control.
After I had my first child I thought for sure my best friend and I would grow apart. The usual last minute texts with a “pretty please let’s grab drinks” were a distant memory because being thrown up on, burping, changing and constantly bouncing my new baby girl was my new venture. My nights out with my bestie turned into a once a month occurrence. I looked forward to that one dinner out a month when I didn’t have to cook or clean up. I got to change out of my usual yoga pants attire, slide into a pair of heels and break out the make up bag. Granted I was home by 9pm but it was one night a month that I didn’t have to do the nightly feeding and bed time routine. I thought after the fifth time of canceling due to two sick babies my friend would hit the road and just stop making plans with me. I should have known, after she stood by our side when we got married and two children later that she wasn’t going anywhere. My kids call her aunty.
So why am I telling you the history of how I became a homebody? Well a few weeks ago I went out on one of my usual dinner dates with my bestie and something happened that really made me think about some things. This night wasn’t just dinner that ended with me curling up on the couch. It was a Saturday night, my husband already promised me I could sleep in and my friends husband was away on business so we decided to go out out. Our “out out” means maybe a comedy show, live music or sitting on a patio enjoying some cocktails. We decided on live music at one of our favorite hang outs. She came over and visited with the kids while I got dressed and we headed out.
We weren’t there for more than 30 minutes when a couple kept catching my eye. Not because the woman had on a flashy top or a because the man was overly attractive. The woman was cute, she had on a hat that truly complemented her. The man sipped on his drink and they held hands. I continued catching up with my best friend, we often get carried away and hours go by before we even place an order for food. That night was no different but my gaze kept moving back to this couple. They kissed and shared each others dinner. When my friend stepped away to use the restroom I looked back at the couple, it had been about three hours and they were now sipping on coffee and sharing a dessert. What was it about this couple that kept my attention? Why was I drawn to them? The music started and the couple swayed to the music together talking with others around them. We ate our food and I continued to peak at them. Now before you think I’m a stalker let me tell you one other fact about them. They were at least 75 years old.
I admired this couple and I had no idea why but I did know one thing. I wanted to pay for their meal. I wanted to do something nice. For all of the times I’m sure this couple did nice things I wanted to pay it forward. I got the waitresses attention and told her I wanted to pay the bill that was just given to that couple over there as I pointed to them. I wasn’t expecting her to point to me, I didn’t have to be pointed out I just wanted to do something nice for a couple that clearly were still in love after lord knows how many years. The couple looked at me with a blank look so I just blew them a kiss. When the couple got up to leave they came over to me and my friend and said “we just want to know why?” I didn’t really know what to say so I just said “because I admire you and some day I want what the two of you have.” The truth is after chatting with this older couple for ten minutes, learning they had three children, many grandchildren, had lived in Boston for years, I still had some unresolved feelings. The woman took my hands and asked me if I was married, I replied with “yes, and I have a three and six year old.” She said “OK, I have one other question then, does your husband do nice things for you?” I of course answered with “Yes, he does!” and she said “Well then honey, you will have what we have some day then.” I was haunted by that question for days.
I started thinking that maybe my answer should have been that my husband used to do nice things for me. That we have two young kids at home and the nice things my husband used to do for me are hard to come by these days. As are the nice things I used to do for him. It’s just the part of life we are in right now. I admired that couple that night because I miss my husband. I miss the way his hand lands on my back when we are sitting side by side. I missed being up late just enjoying each others company like they were. It made me think what if my husband and I don’t get through this crazy life of raising a family because it’s so damn hard and we’ve had a few rough months. What if I don’t get the chance to be that couple that sat across from the bar that night.
However there was more to it than just those thoughts. My dad was 49 when he passed away and my Mom has gone through some major health issues over the past year. She never got her chance to sit at that bar enjoying some live music and her husband of fifty something years. Would I? It’s then that I realized that I was drawn to that couple because I have such a fear of not getting my chance to sit and enjoy a dinner with my husband after having raised two great kids and watching them raise their kids. How could I not? I bought that couple dinner that night because I simply wanted to celebrate that they were there.