The Odessa Record -

Watching Odessa's youngsters grow up

 


One particular thing I have truly enjoyed while living in Odessa is watching the little ones, kids and teenagers, grow.

In eight short years I have gotten to know quite a few of the kids around Odessa. I have witnessed two siblings close to toddler age as they became pre-teens and began playing sports. I’ve seen teenagers graduate from high school, become young adults, move back after college, get their first career jobs or settle down and start a family.

I’ve sold lottery tickets to kids who just turned 18 and a couple of first sixpacks of beer, along with a quick lecture on being careful (just to let them know I care), to others who’d just turned 21. I’ve watched them go from babies, to toddlers, to grade school, and the next thing you know they are married and having a child of their own.

Some of these kids I just couldn’t help but form a special bond with (even if it’s in my own mind). These are the ones I simply cannot wait to see bloom and turn into something fantastic.

Of the ones I really care about, two have said to me, “What good is it to go to the store if (you can’t) they couldn’t give (your) their favorite cashier grief?” One moved out of state with her boyfriend, another is newly engaged and one has a baby girl and is a very doting father.

Most recently, one of them moved to Spokane, had a job interview and got the job, all basically within a week.

Then there are the young ones who, when I worked at the store, liked playing shy with me, and so I made it a game. When they came through the door I’d say “Hello” to them and play with them while they hid behind their mom or buried their faces in the shopping cart.

When I left the store I figured these little ones would forget about me or forever be hiding from me, but I have since discovered otherwise.

One of these little guys was in his car-seat when he and his mom drove by me as I was walking down the street. When he saw me I swear his eyes got as big as saucers, as if he were completely surprised to see me. The next time he saw me, they were parked in front of the pharmacy. As I was walking by, there he was hanging halfway out the window yelling, “Hi! HI!” He then proceeded to tell me all about T-ball. Now when I see this little man I usually get a smile and huge hug. He gets puppy sniffles around his neck and since he talks to me now, his sister seems to have decided I’m okay also.

But yesterday was the Coup de Gras for me. After having a horrible morning I went to the store. Before I even had my car turned off I hear “Hi. Hi!” And lo and behold, there is a little guy I never thought I’d ever win over. I walked over to say hello to him, and the next thing I know he is out of the car and in my arms for a hug. Then he was asking if I got a new car (very observant for a 3 1/2 year old) and if I had a seat in it. We talked a bit and I told him, “Ok, you’re getting a little heavy now so you need go into your seat.” When I put him in the car, he immediately turned back around to me with his lips puckered, wanting a goodbye kiss and another hug from me. I was so shocked. You could have knocked me over with a feather. After the morning I had already had, he melted my heart and almost made me cry. It made me so happy.

What is it about kids that gives them so much power over a person that they can easily alter your day. Is it their sweet innocence, or the fact they can do something so out of the blue and extraordinary you don’t have a choice but smile and have an attitude change?

One thing I do know – that goodbye hug and kiss yesterday – I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Trayce, thank you so much for that.

 

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