My weary muscles ached as I walked into the restaurant for dinner Tuesday evening. I was later than usual because I’d been shooting pictures to prepare for a new real estate listing. I was hot and tired and cranky.
And then Isabella saw me.
She was playing with a couple of other little girls when she saw me, but she dropped them and came running to me. She grabbed my leg to hug me and then reached up for me to pick her up. I reached down and lifted her tiny body and she wrapped her arms around my neck.
All of a sudden, I felt very different. I had energy. I felt happy. I felt as though I must be pretty special for this beautiful little blonde lady to be so happy to see me.
Isabella is the 4-year-old daughter of one of the managers at the restaurant. She’s seen me only a couple of times before, but she accepted me quickly. The first time her mother introduced her to me, she spontaneously ran over and reached out for a hug.
Maybe she loves everybody, but I like to believe Isabella just thinks I’m special. And that makes me happy, so please don’t tell me otherwise.
We sat at my MacBook and I showed her pictures of my cats and dog. After looking at a few dozen pictures, she would call out the name of whichever one whose picture I opened. She loved them all and she would gleefully say their names as she recognized them.
We made silly pictures in PhotoBooth. We made a couple of videos in QuickTime. (See a short example below.) But she kept coming back to the animals.
After about half an hour, I told her I had to leave, but she told me I couldn’t. She held on and said she wanted me to stay. I tickled her a bit to get her happy again before I told everybody goodbye and slipped out.
I live only about a mile from there, so I went home and got Lucy. I knew Lucy would enjoy a car trip and I thought Isabella would be happy to meet Lucy.
When I got back, I went and asked her mother whether it was OK for Isabella to come outside and meet Lucy.
“Oh, yeah,” she said with a wave of her arm. “I trust you. I know you’ll take care of her.”
So Isabella came outside and met my furry girl who probably weighs twice what she does. They were both shy at first. But then Lucy licked Isabella’s face and the little blonde girl laughed and put her arms around Lucy’s neck.
And then it was time for me to go. I asked another employee to come out and hold Isabella’s hand to come back inside, but Isabella cried and said she didn’t want to go back inside. She wanted to go with me and see the cats.
But then she was pulled just inside the door. She stood there looking forlorn — as little children can do so well — and she waved. It wasn’t the adult kind of wave in which the hand moved back and forth. It was the child’s wave. Her hand was like a little fist held up as she opened and closed it.
I waved and Lucy and I walked back to the car.
“Love you,” she called out loudly to us through the slightly open door.
I still need rest. I still need sleep. It was still a long day. But I felt happy. I felt special. Because a little blonde girl loved me.
Hugs and love from a child make powerful medicine.