I have to give the French credit for at least trying to make all of us non-holiday-goers feel better. They have the "Paris Plage" (Paris Beach) which is a wonderful stretch of road along the Seine, that they close to traffic and then add sand. They have sporting events, little cafes, playgrounds for kids, and lounge chairs with umbrellas set up right along the river.
This is one of the children's events, under a bridge to keep out of the sun: a clown making balloon animals (or balloon weapons as you can see in the "holsters" around the boys' waists.)
Next we went over to the Igor Stravinsky fountain outside the Pompidou Center (modern art museum). If you look closely, you can see the the cool water sculptures behind B and Love Bug.
Now, finally... that great story I told you about...
Later that day, we were taking the metro home. My Mom and I were sitting in the fold down seats by the door and Love Bug was on my lap. Across the aisle from us was a Muslim woman, covered head to toe, very modestly. She looked tired and angry, like the world and life had been too hard on her. She was stone-faced and obviously had some experiences in her life to make her brace against the world. That was, until Love Bug saw her and smiled.
First her eyebrows started to move, then her cheeks, and a few seconds later, this woman broke into a smile. Love Bug, the youngest and most inexperienced person in the metro, cracked the code. She figured out the secret to making someones day. You just have to look innocent, have no agenda, and smile at them. Not because it's nice, or because it will make you feel good about yourself, but because you see another person and connect with them.
It made me go home and really think about my life. Seeing Love Bug interact with the world makes me want to be nice, kinder, and smile more. I think I get involved in doing places, doing things, and I forget to take a second to connect with the people around me. I think with families living further apart, and a world of impersonal computers, we all are a little more lonely. We all could use more smiles... especially from a sweet 9 month old baby.