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Dear Caroline,

You’ve been going through a rather shy phase lately. You won’t say hi to anyone and won’t even wave. Sometimes you wave once someone has turned around and is no longer paying attention. Daddy and I want you to know that it is important to be polite and say hello to people. So, we ask you to say hi and try to wave. When you don’t we certainly don’t get upset or anything, but we do ask it of you every time in the hopes that you one day start to do these things.

Today, I was so proud. We were at the fountain for the fourth time in 3 days. We usually have the place to ourselves in the morning for a good 30 to 45 minutes. At that point kids start showing up to play! You seem so excited when other people show up! You watch the big kids running into the fountain, and even try it yourself (without Mama)!

Yesterday and today, you went up to several children and several adults and waved hi! All by yourself! Unfortunately, none of them waved hi or said hello back. You seemed so confused. I felt so bad for you. But, I was so impressed that you were SO brave to go over all by yourself and do something that is out of your comfort zone!

I took the time to explain to you a few of the reasons that the others may not have said hi to you. I told you that they might be shy (like you are at times), and they may not have seen you (since you didn’t say anything). And we discussed how regardless of what happens, your kindness will go a long way. I told you how proud I was of you. You seemed to be growing up right before my very eyes. You were going and making friends on your own.

It made my heart smile so big. And then my stomach sank as I realized all of the hurt that comes along with socializing. This didn’t happen today, but you will encounter children that aren’t nice to you. You will encounter girls at school that don’t want to play with you. You will have interactions with adults that aren’t being nice to you. You will be excluded at some point in your life. You will feel hurt.

This flash of the future just sat there. It’s this untouchable, unavoidable
thing that will happen to you at some point. I realized that, as you grow up, you will see more and more of it. I stood there watching you (just 1.5 years old). You were so grown up and being so kind. You are so innocent and have no idea and no concept of not sharing or playing with someone. You are still unaware of it all.

Part of me wishes I could keep it that way. Part of me wishes I could make everyone always be nice. But most of me is excited to watch you grow and learn. Most of me is excited to watch how you handle situations with kindness in return. And all of me, every cell in my body was delighted to watch you blossom today. To watch you try and make friends. To watch you be so brave and do something that I know made you uncomfortable. To watch you eager to interact with others.

You made me so happy. You are such an amazing person. I am honored to be your mom.

Kisses for a lifetime,

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