Leaning In · Life


It was a cold day
A cold day in upstate New York

Yesterday was a rush-rush day. I had too many things to do in the available hours.

Around 4:30 PM, I made a quick run into the grocery store. The wind was gusty and frigid as I dashed for the door.

In between the open doors a woman stood calling back over her shoulder, “Come ON!” The exasperation was clear in her voice. She pulled her coat tight around her, flipping up the lapels to block the wind.

As I got closer I could see who she was talking to. A little girl, maybe 4 or 5 years old, was in the estuarial space of warm and cold, the space where shopping carts and bottle return machines exist, between the two sets of automatic doors. She had her back to her mother, her hands over her head, fingers extended and wiggling. She crouched and wiggled her bottom a little before jumping up with excited squeals.

She was watching herself on an overhead monitor that showed all the people entering and exiting the store.

“She thinks she’s on tv,” her mother said to me, and rolled her eyes.

I laughed — delighted by the child’s delight. The girl continued her dance, crouching then jumping, waving her hands and arms, giggling and squealing all the while.

Her mother smiled back at me.

For just a moment the two of us watched together.

Then I went in, grabbed the groceries I needed, and headed for the check-out.

I was still smiling when it was my turn to pay.

I was still smiling when I got home.

Two observations I’d like to make:

  1. Delight is contagious. I’m glad the little girl shared hers with me.
  2. Leaning in and slowing down can be as simple as a momentary pause at the grocery store.



3 thoughts on “Delight

  1. Two observations I’d like to make:

    1. Love, love “the estuarial space of warm and cold.”
    2. What happened between “when it was my turn to pay” and “when I got home”? Whether you did it or not, I am picturing you taking a look at yourself and giving a hint of a smile on that “TV” on your way out.

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