Friday, May 10, 2013


There's a woman sitting with her son in the cafeteria of the Children's Museum.  She looks harried and distracted as she hastily sets out their lunch.  Her tall, dimple-cheeked son with the blond streak in his hair is fighting back an overstimulated, tired and hungry rage.   She's trying to keep herself from losing her shit.  In less than an hour, they will be home and he will drag himself into his bed and rest and she will regroup. The woman glances up and sees our little tribe.  

Little G, Ladybug and I are enjoying our meal.  Little G is busy gulping down orange macaroni and cheese with a carton of chocolate milk.  Ladybug is being her typical, reserved self while I unhurriedly nosh on a bite of my gourmet sandwich and check my email on my phone.  I feel the woman's eyes on me and remember her jealousy.  How could I possible be sitting here on my own with not just one, but TWO small children.  How could those children be just eating and not throwing stuff or trying to bite someone?  How come it is so easy for me?  How could I possibly ever know what she is going through? She doesn't even know me, but she is resentful of me and my ease.

There's a woman at the playground packing up her things.  She's given multiple notices to a tall, dimple-cheeked boy with a blond streak in his hair to finish up what he is doing in preparation for leaving.  The boy has been playing well all afternoon, so the entire playground stops to glance nervously when he starts lunging after his mother, screaming at her and trying to bite her now that the time has come to leave.  The boy's cherub-faced baby sister waits patiently by the gate.  It is hard for the woman to keep back her tears.  She knows she pushed it being at the playground so close to dinner time and after a rigorous day at school.

The woman quickly glances around between swings and jabs at her cheeks as she hefts the overwhelmed boy away.  She is looking for someone.  Another mother, perhaps.  Someone who will be looking back at her knowingly.  She doesn't find her, but she moves forward into the evening faithful that she will meet her someday.