Most children, as I understand it, develop a certain fear of strangers around 9 months old. Then the parents grapple with crying and separation anxiety for a period of time after that. My little one turns 1 year old this week and is friendly to most everyone. She waves at strangers in the store. She claps and smiles for most anyone that pays attention to her. That is, she is friendly to most everyone as long as she knows we approve and are around. I know that I'm going to have to teach her to be more wary of strangers than she is today. I know there will always be a worry that she'll be lured away by strangers at a park. But, at this time in our lives it is pretty great.
Today I handed her to someone that she didn't know. She didn't cry or fuss. She "visited" this new friend for a few minutes and then happily returned to my lap. I don't know if it is just Rachel's bubbly personality or why she is so comfortable but this little experience reminded me of a story Marvin J. Ashton told in General Conference many years ago.
"A beautiful little blind girl was sitting on the lap of her father in a crowded compartment in a train. A friend seated nearby said to the father, “Let me give you a little rest,” and he reached over and took the little girl on his lap.
A few moments later the father said to her, “Do you know who is holding you?”
“No,” she replied, “but you do.”
I wish I always trusted my Heavenly Father with unwavering peace like the girl in the story. I hope that Rachel never loses her confidence when interacting with strangers. At least those "strangers" of whom we approve.