I sat in the airport and people watched. I have a need to be everywhere way too early so I had plenty of time to waste. I love people watching and the airport is one of the best places. People coming and going, all with their own stories, which are fun to make up in your own head. The grumpy person pushing past everyone clearly is headed to see family they want nothing to do with. The elderly grandma type smiling at all the babies is headed to see family she DOES want to see. Possibly a brand new grand baby she is excited to meet for the first time. Everyone moving, and those sitting still looking tired, ragged.
I havent traveled much, but I did make multiple trips with 12-14 hours of traveling. The first time I had an almost 2-year-old and was 36 weeks pregnant. Then I came home with a 10 day old as well. The next time I traveled with an almost 2-year-old and almost 4-year-old. I get it, traveling with kids is not easy….
So I sat watching probably a 3-year-old little boy. His mom sat against the wall next to him as he stood and played. Between him and another man sitting on the wall was his stroller. The man was nicely dressed, iPad in hand clearly doing some sort of work. The boy and mom were not as well dressed, no iPad in hand. The mom was distracted, clearly stressed about traveling or something else pressing in her life. The boy played, alone and quiet. Eventually he made eye contact with the man, who smiled warmly at the boy. He took his eyes off his screen and played with the boy. Making faces, smiling, clearly happy with his choice to forego the work. The boy as well was thrilled. For a few fleeting moments they played, the boy Peekabooing around the stroller… Until the Mom noticed, slapped him, and he sat back down quietly… The man turned back to his iPad without even a second thought.
I don’t understand. There is no way about it, I just don’t get it. This man took time from the things he had going on and he and the boy throughly enjoyed each other for those few minutes. How sad that was stolen from them both. How sad that the man did not even react. Maybe he was caught off guard. Maybe he didn’t know what to do. Maybe it wasn’t his place to say anything or even react. Maybe the mom was stressed. Maybe she wasn’t thinking. Maybe there is so much going on in the situation that I don’t understand. But nevertheless, it was still sad to watch. How often we are so engrossed in what we have going on in our own lives that we miss the time to smile at someone else. To give even a brief second of our time to someone else.The boy clearly needed that minute with someone completely engaged with someone. The man obviously was happy to have some time away from what he had going on to just play. If only it wouldn’t have been cut so short… Give that second when you can…. Even if just for me, the people watcher figuring out your story from across the isle.