On our last morning of vacation, on a walk to get coffee and breakfast J & I walked past a little boy, a little younger than H, standing outside a restaurant banging on the window.
I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t really register or think anything of it and walked forward about to cross the street when J stopped and walked towards the boy.
“What’s wrong, buddy?” J asked.
“I’m trying to get my mom, she’s inside cleaning, I’m supposed to be drawing in the car but I have to tell her something,” he said.
“Come with me,” J said and the little boy followed him around to the other entrance where a door of the closed restaurant was propped open. J waved to the mom as the boy ran up to her and hugged her.
We walked away and I was rattled.
“She left him in the car while she was working…you could have been anyone and he followed you…” my stomach hurt as I thought of the possibilities of this sweet boys fate and was thankful that J had the insight to stop and help.
J wasn’t surprised by the situation and as I processed aloud how sad I was he pointed out that for many parents there aren’t any other options. It’s either work or don’t work, eat or don’t eat. Childcare isn’t an affordable option for so many families.
A few days after we were back, I read the story about a mom losing custody of her 9 year old daughter after leaving her to play in the park 3 days in a row while she went to work. Judgements flew across Facebook and in the comment section as moms and dads weighed in about what kind of parent leaves their kid at the park while they work.
What kind of parent leaves their kid at the park while they go to work?
The kind of parent who is trying their darndest to make ends meet. The one who wants to feed their kid, pay rent or the mortgage, keep the air conditioning from being turned off. These aren’t simply parents who don’t want to pay for childcare because really, do any of us really WANT to pay for childcare? These are parents who CAN’T pay for childcare. Parents who aren’t making enough money to pay for it or who if they do have to pay for it have to not pay something else.
I was blindly about to walk past that little boy standing on the corner, knocking on the glass for his mom because he wasn’t my kid and it wasn’t my problem but I am so glad that J had the insight to stop, to listen, to help without judgement, just kindness and understanding.
At the end of the day we all need more of that. Don’t you think?