I'm sure most new parents feel like I do as they watch their little ones grow, that feeling of wonderment mixed with trepidation as they watch their children begin to interact with the outside world.
Being a cute, friendly little girl, Nora will say hi to anyone and anything. She "gives love" to inanimate objects like this mouse sculpture at the zoo by hugging it and saying "Oh...", and will hug nearly any 4 or 5-year-old boy (much to his horror). But even the 4-year-old boys will just look at me as if I'm supposed to stop it, and only a very few will push her away.
When I simply say "She's doing that because she thinks you're COOL!" Most boys will just respond with "OH!" or "OK!", but if nothing else, most of the time they just react with some level of civility that even a pre-kindergartener can muster.
I was talking to a friend the other day and saying how hard it is knowing that the world will get harder for her, instead of easier. That at some point when she understands more words and more about humankind, that I will have to explain to her that not everyone will be good to her, and not everyone will like her, even if she is her sweet affable self.
The fact is, mean people exist. I experience them on a rare basis, thankfully, because I have a loving family, great friends, nice neighbors and by and large have a great experience on the Internet. The good FAR outweighs the bad, and always will.
I hope in time, I will be able to explain to Nora how to be careful, but not too careful. How to embrace life with gusto and without fear, but to use her judgement well and listen to that voice that says "be careful" when it speaks up.
But really? If nothing else, we have to walk around truly liking all of mankind, not just the ones who look or sound like us...or we're just part of the problem. I hope if nothing else, I pass that on to my girl.
Peace to all, especially those who are running away from it.