A rambling tale of two Saturdays.Posted: July 9, 2012
(No math today. Just trying to process something relatively trivial that happened this weekend… Sorry for all the words. I’ll try to work in some numbers *grin*)
A few months ago, we had a random heat wave in the spring. 90 degree temps, 120% humidity, the whole nine yards. Combine this fact with the Little Scientist’s need for outside playtime, and we spend a LOT of early morning hours in the park. On this particular Saturday, we ventured to a park near the rich neighborhood – you know, the one with the manicured lawns and landscapers? Yeah, that neighborhood – the parks are nice over there too.
At the early hour we were there, it was me and LS, a mom with her shy 4-year-old waiting on dad to perform the great weekend custody exchange (quite civilly, I might add, even with the addition of the pregnant young new wife), and a VERY pregnant mom with her 2-year old and… photographer?
Turns out pregnant-mom was trying to get her kiddo’s 2-year portraits professionally done at the public park, before the birthday party. Which would have been fine, except the 2-year old was acting, well, the way 2-year olds do. And the constant monologue pregnant-mom was having a little TOO loud with herself was about how the “daughter behaved JUST FINE until these other KIDS showed up”.
At one point custody-mom looked at me and said “I think she’s talking about us… Hmmm. Weird.”, so at least I knew I wasn’t making things up. But then LS wandered a little too close to the party-setup taking place, and picked up a ball that the birthday girl had dropped. Usually this occurs when he wants to hand something back to you – dropping of things disturbs him. Maybe because me and his dad are SO FREAKING TALL, so dropping is usually a dramatic “heads-up below!!!” incident. Preggo-mom snatched (am I being fair? Yeah, I think so. Snatched is appropriate.) the ball from his outstretched hand and snapped “No no! Bad boy!”
All those things you wish you could say? Yeah, I don’t think of them until light-years later. I still don’t know what I wish I’d said to her. All I did in the moment was pick up one very startled Little Scientist and tell him that he was not a bad boy, and that I knew he was trying to help. That sometimes people have bad days and take it out on other people.
So we left. And I didn’t think about it after that day. Really, truly I didn’t.
Until this Saturday. (I warned you about the rambling. Sorry.) We were at a completely different park, one on the blue-collar side of town. When we pulled up, the situation was so very, very similar. Pregnant mom, setting up birthday party for wandering two-year old. Except this time it looked like older brother was the photographer. And no-one in the group spoke English.
Because we were only going to be there for a half-hour (holy CRAPP July heat! Oof!), I figured we could stay out of the way, and be gone long before any party commenced. Until LS saw the balloons.
Did I mention the boy LOVELOVELOVELOVELOVES balloons? And pregnant-mom2 with her older daughters was blowing up balloons as fast as they could to tape to the party structure. LS marched right up to the shelter and just stared with the most awe-filled look. SO. MANY. BALLOONS. Pregnant-mom2 laughed, tied off a mini-balloon and handed it too him. I thanked her in my oh-so-broken Spanish, we both laughed, embarrassed, and LS ran off to show his new balloon-friend the slide.
In a half-hour, pregnant-mom2 sent one of her daughters over with a plastic cup of ice-water and a straw for the LS. I waved across the playground, and we took off for home shortly thereafter.
For some reason, I can’t stop thinking about these two experiences. The second mom had so little, and it never even crossed her mind that she wouldn’t share. The first mom… well, I keep finding myself being sympathetic and sad for her. I know she was hot, uncomfortable, and embarrassed that her kid wasn’t behaving. She had such a plan for how the day was going to go, and it was NOT GOING RIGHT. I know this, because so many, many times I am her.
I want to be more like the second mom. So I keep looking at the pictures of LS with his balloon, hoping something about this Saturday will stick.