Miss O’s current favorite book is “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” by Carol McCloud. She could read that book one hundred times in a day and still want to take it to bed with her. The premise of the book is teaching children to fill the invisible “good feelings” buckets of everyone around them.
Miss O is definitely a bucket filler. She has never met a stranger, never suffered insecurity, never ignored the lonely. DH and I half-heartedly joke that we know more about living the life of a celebrity than most, as we can never go anywhere without being stopped by a half dozen strangers so they can chat with O. For example, when we lived in Wisconsin (for 10 minutes) I received a text from Ray saying "Why was I filling up the car at the gas station and someone yelled hey! it's Olivia's dad!"
I would give almost anything to make others feel the way Miss O makes them feel (but I would not give up O!). People really take to heart how much she loves them. I once heard an elderly woman tell her husband “did you see how she smiled at me! Oh she really liked me!” I refuse to admit how choked up I got – it would be bad for my image – but I think it is safe to say her bucket was filled that day.
At one of my doctor’s appointments when I transferred to the military hospital at Andrews, the doctor read a note on my file that a nurse had written saying that this baby was one of the liveliest she had seen. I’m sure this had some medical purpose such as “watch out if the baby only kicks one bajillion times instead of two bajillion times” or “danger! danger! baby let mama sleep without dancing all night!” – but the doctor smiled as she told me and said “wow, this baby is making people laugh and he or she isn’t even here yet!”
Yep. There you have it: Miss O in a nut shell.
I know people will think “sure, every mom thinks her kid is great” or “sure, kids say the darndest things.” Well I don’t. Sorry. I’m not a mushy gushy, baby loving, cheek pinching, head smelling (c’mon you know what I’m talking about..), default kid lover. I think there are really cool kids out there, but not all. There is just something about being in O’s presence that is so humbling, so engrossing…I am starting to wonder if the great purpose God was prepping me for this whole life was simply to bring her into the world so she could work HER magic.
Sometime, in another life, I sparkled the way she does. I know it’s in me: I just have to find it again. Well, unless through giving birth I somehow transferred my powers to her. That may very well have happened. I have this theory that moms are so tired all the time because children suck all the energy out of them during the birthing process and that is why a child can run around the couch one million times and not get winded and moms cannot do the laundry without stopping to rest (or is that just me?).
Alright, I digress - I warned you I talked too much and often without point. But, really, when do we lose that childlike wonder? When do we lose that ability to love without fear of rejection? Better yet, when did we stop realizing that people aren’t all bad? Rest assured, that if you smile at someone in the grocery store, you will make their day and will mostly likely get a smile in return – how great would that feel?! Smiles and warm greetings should be handed out like free candy! And you know what? If you do not make someone’s day when you smile at them, they are the ones who needed your smile the most. So do not take their rejection to heart and, instead, recognize that their heart is hurting more.
I challenge you in the next few days to try to fill at least one bucket a day. A smile, a “hello,” a phone call or note – anything that raises the self worth of another.
When is the last time you filled a bucket? What is your favorite or most creative way to encourage others?