Monday, February 7, 2011

Parenting and Community

On Saturday afternoon we took Jack out for lunch, and as we sat down in a nearly empty section of the restaurant, I sighed a little sigh of relief.  It's not that I don't like people or anything, but sometimes when we go about I worry that people don't necessarily want to sit adjacent to a babbling toddler that may or may not have just lobbed a pea across the dining room. 

Shortly after we settled in, the hostess sat an elderly couple near us.  They sat there quietly talking while we ordered our food and tried to entertain Jack with some crayons and a piece of paper.  Soon enough Jack was talking loudly and dancing in his high chair.  I saw the older couple look over at us, then the woman winked at Jack, and waved over at him. 

He lit up, and waved back, while talking all about his 'num-nums', and the man leaned back in his chair and told us how much seeing Jack reminded him of his early days of parenting.  They continued interacting with Jack off and on throughout the meal, and when they left, they came over for high fives from the little guy. 

As I watched them walk out to their car, arm in arm, I thought about how amazing it is that a child can bring people to interact despite all the barriers that society puts up.  I love that there is a sense of community in parenting, in all it's stages.  I love that I can look across the aisle at the grocery store to see the mom with a squawking newborn, and exchange smiles of 'oh sweetie, I've so been there!'.  I love that my dental hygienist gives me potty training tips even though her three boys are all out of high school by this point.  I love seeing the way pregnant women look at Jack, you can almost see them dreaming about what their little one will be like.

I have been continually amazed at the community that I have found over the past fifteen months, both in real life and here online.  It's amazing how much we all have in common when we stop looking at what we don't have in common. 
This picture is unrelated, but I like it!
I say this a lot, I know, but being a parent is so much more than I thought it could be.

9 comments:

  1. Such a sweet reminder of how we can relate to each other! The stages of parenting each have so many blessings...it's nice to be at the stage of the older couple...LOVE them then leave them to their young parents who have the energy, haha! xoxo always, Oukie

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  2. "It's amazing how much we all have in common when we stop looking at what we don't have in common." A to the men, sister. That will PREACH!

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  3. I totally agree... They turn our worlds upside down... or should I say right side up? :)

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  4. It is amazing the joy our little rascals can bring to all. And Jack Jack, he is full of joy!

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  5. I love everything about this post. Thumbs up!

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  6. I completely agree. Parenting is like that great equalizer that brings people from different ages, stages and groups together in a common place.

    And, with our two-year-old I still cross my fingers that we'll be seated nowhere near anyone else or be seated in a REALLY LOUD section of the restaurant that drowns out her jabberings. :)

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  7. I definitely agree. Usually I'm so worried that we will be bothering other patrons at a restaurant but I know whenever I see little ones I just like to smile and play with them and others often do the same with my daughter. Kids are a great connection :)

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  8. What a beautiful post. I cringed when I read that an elderly couple was seated, but what a sweet surprise!

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