Wednesday, August 18


Last weekend the hot weather finally broke and Andrew and I took the opportunity to have a picnic in the park. As we sat on our blanket, we entertained Milo, ate some sandwiches, and people-watched. Let me tell you about a few of the people we saw.

A family of four was out walking around the park. Mom, Dad, a little girl (maybe 8?), and a little boy (maybe 6?), out doing what families do. At this particular park, there is a pond with man-made stepping stones across it. Maybe 15 circular steps across, each twelve inches in diameter or so, with no guard rails. Well, the little boy began to cross the steps, holding Dad's hand. And he hadn't made it past more than four steps before he lost his balance and stepped into the pond. The water only came up to his knees, and he still had hold of his dad's hand, so he wasn't frightened. Dad began laughing, and the boy smiled too.

But the mom. SHE was not laughing. At. All.

"You think this is FUNNY?" she screeched at her husband. "He has RUINED his brand new shoes! Ruined!"

(They were just sneakers, by the way. Can't you just throw those things in the washing machine and call it a day?)

Then to the boy, who was no longer smiling: "I can't believe you ruined your shoes! How could you do that?! They're BRAND NEW and now they are RUINED! You RUINED your shoes and you RUINED our day at the park! We're going home!"

Then the boy started to cry as he hung his head in shame. Then they all walked (some of them stormed) out of the park and out of earshot.

This brief glimpse into another family's life got me thinking. How would I have handled that situation? I hope more like the dad, who laughed and made his kid feel less embarrassed. Maybe I would have taken off the boy's shoes and socks and let him try crossing the steps again. I really hope I wouldn't have yelled and embarrassed both my child and myself by screaming at him and my husband in public.

I wanted to ask that lady: Were those shoes worth it? New or not, were they worth your child's self-esteem and your dignity?


Cheezz said...

This reminded me of a little boy I know who after being away from his mom for a few days, upon seeing her, ran over to give her a big hug and gets scolded with "I can't believe you just stepped on my toenails! I JUST got a pedicure!" Unfortunately, some people are lost inside of themselves and ignorant of the world around them. I don't think you have to worry about turning out that way. Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

At our other house (in a cul-de-sac) when it rained the boys would walk the circle in the puddles. One of their favorite things to do. A neighbor (who at that time had no kids and swore she would never have a Little Tykes picnic table in HER living room. Ever. But she eventually did), could not believe I let them get so wet and dirty. You will be a good "boy mama" and let him splash in puddles, etc. I just know it.
Linda Conley

Lindsay said...

This story makes me so sad. Life is too short to get wrapped up in silly things like that. Instead of a fun memory in the park, that little boy will only remember "ruining" the day. Not that I never snap at stupid things, especially after a bad day, but I hope I can pick my battles a little better.