Thursday, October 21, 2010
A Sunday afternoon at the park
This past Sunday was a gorgeous day, a busy day, but a gorgeous one none the less. I was able to take a few mins. off from my hustle and bustle just to hang out at my favourite park for an hour. I took a walk and then sat on a bench enjoying the day. I spent my time there soaking in some rays, watching the "park wild life", and occasionally noticing the passerbyers. It's funny the people that I notice though, usually the out of the ordinary types. There were the normal people riding by on their bikes or roller blades, I never really paid attention to them. A few families with stressed out Mom's and disinterested Dad's. I never really looked at them either... a lone Mom with three kids, all under 6 I think(2 walking and one in the stroller), they walked by without much of a glance from me.. then I spotted an older couple.. in their 60's maybe, walking a small dog. They were holding hands. Them I noticed, I casually watched them as they walked by, feeling something that I later identified as Envy? Jealousy? It seems that I miss the whole "holding hands" thing.
Just then, someone was walking down the lane that I watched... He was bald, bearded.. looked in his mid thirties. he looked like a biker. Tough, rough... If he would have asked for my wallet, he would not have had to asked twice. Running at his feet were 3 children.. Playing and laughing.. They were looking for ducks to feed. When this guy smiled at those kids, his face just lit up, the kind of smile that starts on your lips but ends in your eyes... The kids were shouting "Daddy, where are the ducks" and he pointed out the way. I may have been mildly afraid of their dad, but they obviously weren't. They walked by and I was thinking how amazing it is, to have someone who looked so rough and yet was such a softie with his kids. I sat smiling at the thought, and then I remembered the lone mother, with her 3 kids. All on a Sunday afternoon walk in the park. I again sat amazed at how I didn't give that family a second glance, she was just doing what good parents do, she fit the stereotype. Her kids were just as glad to be there, and she seemed like a really good parent. I mean getting 3 small kids ready for anything is no small task, and yet she chose to do that instead of getting some well deserved rest for herself on a Sunday.
The truth is that, there is usually no huge reward for just doing the right thing. You don't get a key to the city for cooking your kids dinner, no hero biscuit for taking them to soccer practice, no pat on the back and thank you for making them brush their teeth before they go to bed. It almost seems unfair when the biker dude almost rates a father of the year award, for just taking his kids to the park and being nice while they're out.
I think though that our reward for doing the mundane things that we need to do, that really are important things, like getting 3 small kids dressed and taking them to the park, is not in the thank you... It's in the silence. It's having kids that take for granted that when they come home from school, there is a snack waiting for them, or that when they are sick Mom or Dad will take care of them, and when they make a poor choice, they may be punished but they are still loved best of all.
Yes, in these things it is not the thanks but in the silence where we receive our reward. When our children take these and other acts of parenting for granted, we know that no matter how unsure we are of ourselves, there is one thing, one very important thing, that we are doing right.
Or maybe that's just me.