My mother has always called me a “kid magnet”. Even when I was a child myself, I was known for gathering the younger kids around me getting them to play together. At the mall I would smile at child and they would scamper away from their mother’s side feeling the pull to come and talk to me. This slightly stockerish trait is still alive as well as part of my personality.
Last Saturday I took the train up to visit friends. A little girl and her grandmother got on at the same stop as I did. Before I really even knew how my friendship has started with this little fellow traveler, she had brought her crayons and princess’ story book over and plopped down in the empty seat beside me. For the next two hours she chattered away telling me all about her little brother, her classmates in kindergarten and her purple backpack. By the end of the two hour ride my seatmate gave me a huge and proudly declared me to be her “new best friend”.
She and her grandmother disembarked at an earlier destination, moments after they were out of ear shot, one of the women sitting a few sits ahead, popped up and turned around to face me.
“You’re really good with children,” she said “you should have lots of them when you grow up.”
I knew she meant it as a compliment, but I didn’t think my behavior over the last few hours had been so juvenile as to discount any adult status granted to me for my 31 years of life. She was still looking at me, seemingly waiting for a response. I did know what to say, so I quietly mumbled a lame “thank you”.