Moving 14 times in the last 13 years has taught me many wonderful lessons. There are a few I continue to learn time and time again, one of the most important being that there is nothing that can make a place feel like a home more than being welcomed into a community. Every time a move occurs, it includes a new post office, library, Costco, doctor, dentist, and favorite gas station among of course a million other little details. This most recent move provided me a new dentist, one that reminded me of this most valuable lesson.
I have gone to the dentist hundreds of times because I was not blessed with easy teeth, and the teeth I was born with have been through many traumatic incidents. Phobia of the dentist was not a privilege I was afforded. Whenever I move I ask around to different folks and see who they recommend, much the same as I do a doctor, a hairdresser, a masseuse. This dentist came highly recommended and I was told he was worth the two hour drive, even in a snowstorm.
His office did not disappoint. When I walked in the front door, the administrative assistant came out from her little sliding glass door office into the waiting room to welcome me. She showed me where I could put my shoes and borrow a pair of slippers, she hung up my jacket and she smiled sweetly as she handed me the papers to fill out. She immediately showed me where the restroom was, offered me a cup of tea, and inquired about the weather and road conditions on the way to the office. I was home. Literally, in someone else's place of business, I was home. The entire procedure, I thought about how I might be able to make others feel as welcome in my presence.
This welcoming reminded me that most people just want to be known, recognized, welcomed, and cared for. Certainly it takes extra time, and it takes us looking away from our electronic gadget screen, it takes additional forethought, and in the moment it takes a little extra energy. It truly is an old town way of being, one where the most important element is that the other person feels comfortable.
In the moves I make, I find less and less opportunities for this type of experience. Fifteen years ago in my first move, as soon as I dropped roots, I found the sweetest manicurist through word of mouth, the loveliest waitress at a hometown diner, and the most sophisticated and elegant flower shop owner. They all knew me by name and worked hard to cater to my desires. I know it is not a cool phrase to use, but I remember many years ago when we used to jokingly say to one another, "oooohhh, that makes me feel warm and fuzzy." Feeling cared for by strangers and welcomed by business owners makes us feel exactly that way, warm and fuzzy. Frankly, at this most recent dental appointment, it made me want to pay it forward and allow someone else to feel that way.
Kindness and caring are contagious. Although we never see the ripple effects following our random acts of kindness, they are lasting. Since my appointment, in the interim I have shared with others about my dentist and how they should definitely make the two hour drive just for the experience. Also, in my moments of quiet I have been thinking about what else I might do to let those nice people know how much more comfortable they made me feel than they had to. Thank you to the dental team in southern New Hampshire that made me feel so welcome and reminded me again of the kind of businesswoman I want to be.