I met some of the most generous people today. It was the most unexpected thing, because I was babysitting, and you don’t typically meet people while babysitting.
Here’s what I expected for my Friday night: Adorable Two-Year-Old and I would play. We would read books. We would take puppy for a walk. To her delight, we would munch on popcorn and watch a DVD about an animated princess with a talking cat named Lord Fluffy and brown curls in the shape of a sailboat. After Adorable Two-Year-Old had gnawed on her toothbrush, and we had traded the wet diaper for a dry one, I would lay her in the crib. She might wail. We would discuss this, in the end reaching a diplomatic conclusion that she would lie down and pretend to sleep, and I would earn the good babysitter award.
Well, the evening went pretty much as pictured above; except we had some visitors! Adorable Two-Year-Old’s grandparents arrived just before bedtime. I had never met them before. As I walked outside with the toddler on my hip to greet them, while I was still fifty yards away, they shouted, “Hello Brooke! Nice to meet you!”
Have you ever met someone who instantly makes you feel like family? Who showers you with a stream of love, gifts, and sweet words that never runs out?
The grandparents brought treats. They brought popsicles. They brought candy and Vitamin Water. Goodies spilled out of grocery bags onto the counter. A bone came out for the dog. They hugged and kissed Adorable Two-Year-Old and told her they loved her again and again.
And as babysitter watched and tried to hide absolute unbelief at the sweetness of the whole scene, they made her feel loved, too. “Have some water! Please, take some candy home! Take some home for your family!” They handed her a fruit popsicle. They sat down and chatted. They asked her questions, told her stories, overflowed with joy. All the while, Grandma followed Adorable Two-Year-Old around like the paparazzi, flashing her with big grins and sneaking as many random kisses on top of her curly head as possible.
Then they checked their watches, and said, “We should probably get going.” They held the babysitter’s hands in theirs and said, “We’re so glad to have met you. Now make sure you eat that candy, okay?” The counter full, the Two-Year-Old happy, the dog content, they vanished.
Is that depiction of “generous” human beings normal? Goodness, no. Is it deserved? I wasn’t their grandchild. How did I deserve the generosity of someone else’s parents, someone else’s grandparents, people who owe me nothing and have no connection to me?
Real generosity is like this. It’s dazzling. It swoops in overwhelmingly, so much that you don’t believe it could ever be real. But little by little, you realize it’s not for show.
And suddenly, it wins you over.