Go Ahead, Hug a Monster

This weekend I learned a valuable lesson from my toddler.  It almost seems as if I’m learning as much from him as he is from me these days, though I think his lessons may be far more profound!
This weekend, we strolled on the boardwalk at the Jersey shore and watched all the lights dance across the piers. Elijah loves watching pretty much any amusement ride – especially the roller coaster.
We came upon a haunted house ride that has some seriously disturbing imagery. The thing creeps ME out, so I was preparing to scoop up Elijah and walk away quickly the moment he showed fear.
He looked up at the towering monster that loomed over us . . . red glaring eyes and smoke pouring from his mouth, and said . . .
. . . “Hug?”
I blinked, and said . . .”what?!”
He pointed to the monster, held up both of his hands and yelled “HUG!”
My son wanted to hug the fear right out of the devil.
That moment seriously softened my heart and reminded me that most monsters are really only scary because of our own imaginations.
My kid will seriously walk up to anyone. He’ll smile, wave, dance . . . whatever strikes him at the moment.
Most of the time, I absolutely love this about him. When he makes elderly women on park benches giggle, when people at the store can’t help but stop and chat…even when random strangers on the street want to give him high-fives.
Cat’s. He’ll even entertain cats.
Sometimes, though . . . I get a little freaked out. It’s embarrassing, because I shouldn’t be . . . but we all have people we tend to steer clear of, right?
Like . . . the scruffy guy on the boardwalk picking up trash.
The cross-looking biker dude riding the train.
Embarrassingly enough, these are my monsters. These are the people I may have passed quickly with my eyes down in order to avoid striking conversation with.
These are people I may have judged, and that is something I should not be doing to anyone.
The gruff guy on the boardwalk picking up trash talked and danced with my son, and told me what great parents my husband and I must be.
The cross-looking biker dude on the train turned out to be a big teddy bear, making faces and playing peek-a-boo with Elijah through most of our ride to New York.
I’ve decided I want to be more like my kid – he truly doesn’t discriminate, and is willing to pass the love out to anyone who’s willing to receive.
Today’s message? Smiles don’t discriminate.
Share the love, hug a monster.

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This post first appeared on Eco Chic.

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