Mind Matters ó Covid and Kindness

My granddaughter has been asking me a lot of questions about the past lately. Now that this four and a half-year-old has been home with me rather than in daycare, we have a lot of time together. She loves to tell and draw stories but she also wants to hear real life stories about her mother as a child and even about me, her grandmother as a child.

If Covid time has given us anything it is a deep and precious connection. Perhaps because the present is so constricted, we are all more curious about the past and more wishful for the future. While my granddaughter does reminisce about going to the Museum of Science and the Aquarium and flying on an airplane to visit her uncle, she seems especially interested in creating an historical timeline of what life was like in the past. She, of course, like all kids loves repetition. Tell the story again, Mimo (my nom de grandmother).

One story I have repeated lately is about my airplane trip with her mother as a three-year-old and her uncle as one-year-old. I was flying solo with the kids from our home outside Pittsburgh to Newark, New Jersey, and back. Both flights were fraught with challenges. My sonís ears could not tolerate the air pressure changes and he screamed and cried on takeoffs and landings. On the return flight, he also had a major diaper blowout all over his clothes. He was not happy! While he sat on my lap I cleaned him up and changed his clothes, keeping his sister at bay. At some point, a suited man across the aisle asked, ďand to what do you attribute his behavior?Ē I probably just glared, too overwhelmed to respond articulately about childrenís needs and problems.

Finally, after my sonís tearful and painful landing, we made it to baggage claim, where my husband awaited our arrival. An older woman with gray hair (which is what I am now) approached me as we were retrieving luggage and congratulated me on a mothering job well done.

Her kind words touched my heart then and still remain with me now. I am grateful to my granddaughter for having prodded me to consider past events to remember in a new way.

Who among us is not feeling stressed? I know I have been, more than I care to admit, like the judgmental man on the plane, rather than the kind grandmother at baggage claim. Perhaps we can begin by being kind to ourselves, forgiving the moments we have been harsh and then see if each day we can extend that kindness into the world. What a ripple effect that could be.

Can you take a moment to reflect on a time someone has been kind to you where it came unexpectedly, a surprise? How did that feel? Do you notice how good it felt then and how it still feels good now when you recall it?

Why not look now for places where you can pay the kindness forward, giving others lasting remembrances of kindnesses! It wonít cure Covid but it may slowly, imperceptibly change the world.