When Kids Say Hello

Josie Leavitt - July 7, 2010

The summer brings with it hordes of children I don’t often get see during the year. Sometimes these are kids I don’t see for a whole year, and sometimes these are kids I don’t see because school keeps them far too busy. And every once in a while, it’s a young regular who’s no longer shy. It’s been a great week for kid sightings and how these kids say hello makes my day.
Sunday, I was actually at the supermarket and a recent high school graduate came bounding up to me, arms wide open, huge smile on her face practically shouting, “Josie!! I graduated!” I beamed back and told her that I knew and was very proud of her.  Admittedly, I don’t get greeted like this every day, but I can say I got greeted like that yesterday.
One of my favorite summer families came in the store. I only saw them once last year and I was saddened to see that I had missed them during my fishing day last week, so I was elated to them walking in the door, escaping the heat. Faith and Jamie both ran up to me with arms wide. After a group hug, Faith said, “Enough, I need some books!” I set her up with a stack far too large and hugged the mom and got caught up on adult matters: How’s the divorce coming? Everyone healthy? What are the oldest children doing? This family represents for me one of the reasons I love my job. I have seen them grow up before my eyes. I remember when Faith wasn’t even born and the oldest daughter was in middle school – she’s now graduated from college.
I love the kids who I haven’t seen in a while come in and the boys say hello, and their voices have changed. So, what used to be a “hi” is now a bass-toned “Hey” with a slight wave. Boys don’t stop and hug as often as the girls and their moms. Boys like to get their books and I like their sense of purpose. The kids home from college for summer will stop and chat, filling me in on their lives, and asking far too late in the hiring season if there’s any work available.
While the older kids are always great to see, it’s the little ones who kill me. There’s one young boy, almost three, who now knows me well enough that he won’t hide behind his dad’s leg when I say hello to him. Now I get a heart-melting smile and a shy wave. Sometimes though, this little guy follows me around very quietly and taps my leg and then smiles up at me when I look down to see who’s tapping me.
Another little one, almost five, came in on Monday, and though she is still shy, she spoke up enough for me to hear her ask, “Funny Josie, do you have Swan Lake?”
I just gotta say, I love my job.

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