Hey guys! We’ve had a crazy week over here, but I’m purposely carving out time to blog. I even set a reminder on my phone for it because I really wanted to write about an experience I had earlier this week.
On Monday, my son woke up and immediately asked to go to the park. We usually don’t go so early but I couldn’t say no to his sweet face. We quickly grabbed breakfast and headed out.
There were more older kids (7-9 ish) than I expected, which sucks for my son because he always wants to play and they don’t. At least not with him. Anyways, there was a father of 2 little boys closer to his age there, so he gravitated towards them. Here’s where a normal day at the park turned into an amazing day, and actually week, for me.
We introduced ourselves, and made the normal “park parent” small talk- our kids names and ages, if we have any others or are thinking about more, etc. This is usually where the conversation stops and we go about our business. Not this time and not this parent.
The first thing that he said to me was that my son had a great smile. I thought that was nice of him and also a refreshing change from the comments on his eye color. Of course, our kids brought their own toys from home to play with. His brought sand buckets and shovels, mine brought a couple dinosaurs and a truck.
The entire time they were playing, this dad made more comments about my son. “Wow, he is such a good talker!” and “He shares so well.” and so on. And of course, I complimented his boys too. What really stood out to me about him was that he was really engaged. He was down there in the sand with his boys, digging and making “cupcakes” with them, going along enthusiastically with wherever their imaginations led him. When I had to go over to a bench to nurse my daughter a little ways away, he was just as engaged with my son as he was his own. Even though I could see Julian and tell him to be careful, he made sure that he didn’t try to climb down or up anything he wasn’t supposed to and get hurt.
When I came back, I thanked him for keeping an eye on Julian.
He said, “No problem. You know, you are doing an amazing job raising him. He is such a sweet kid and my boys loved playing with him. We are so used to kids being bullies and as a parent, I am used to other parents letting them be bullies while they sit there on their phones. Thank you for this good morning.”
I have been questioning my parenting more than usual lately because we have been having major attitude problems at home. Julian’s new favorite thing is to scream “no” when I ask him to do something he doesn’t want to. I know it’s just a phase, but it’s hard to think of it that way when it’s happening day after day. I was exhausted, and a victim of self deprecation. When he said that, it reassured me that this too shall pass and that I am doing just fine. The best part is that it was completely genuine.
Thank you nice dad at the park, you have no idea how much I needed to hear that.