I think it goes without saying that I have never said, nor will I ever say that I am a perfect parent. I am far from it. I consider it a successful day when my kids are clean, fed and safe. It can go either way on the clean and/or the fed, but I have been accused, more than once, of being overprotective. It is a true case of "if keeping my kids safe is wrong, I don't ever want to be right."
Currently Ryan is mad at me because I won't let him play flag football. To me, it is the gateway sport to tackle football. There is no doubt in my mind that he would make an excellent player, and that is part of the problem. He will really like playing, and catch the attention of some coach that will want him to go to the next level. He is big, and kind of fast, and very enthusiastic. How do I say no then? It is hard enough for me to watch him playing baseball after the unfortunate incident last year. Can we just take a moment to imagine how bad it would be for all of us if he got hurt playing football?
Enough about that. Here is where I was really going with this post. Over the weekend I was working a trade show booth in a very popular, open-to-the-public area attraction. I was in a conference room that held five or six booths. I had been working about 45 minutes when this small child walked into the conference room. There had been a lot of kids with parents walking through all day, so I didn't think too much about it. After a few minutes all the other visitors walked out and this child was still there as more people came in. I kept my eye on him until he wandered over my way. I asked him where his parents were and he said that his mom was out in the hallway, leading me to believe that he walked ahead of her and she would be coming in a few moments. I told him to hang out with me until she got there, and I gave him my phone to play with until we found her. Fifteen minutes later there was still no sign of her, so the lady from the booth next to mine went to find her. Meanwhile this child had built something on Minecraft and had mastered Ham on the Run. (Go on, I dare you not to sing "Band on the Run. I know, it is impossible.)
It turns out that his mother was out in the hallway where there were other vendors. I understand how hard it is to get a babysitter, not to mention how expensive it can be, but this child had been with me for TWENTY MINUTES and she had not missed him. How could she have possibly expected this baby to stay with her for hours on end unsupervised. There were over 3000 people attending this Expo, not to mention the regular people that would have been there for the actual attraction. This kid was very willing to talk to me and also very willing to play with my phone and eat the candy that was on my table. The only thing I was missing was the puppy and I could have had the kidnapper's hat trick of cliches. It was a disaster waiting to happen. Over the course of the next few hours he wandered in four or five more times.
I really try to mind my own business and not to judge other people's parenting styles because, as Robin Robert's mother says, Everybody's Got Something. Lord knows I have no right to cast the first stone. I don't know this family's story, and frankly it is none of my business. I am sure this child is rambunctious and ornery and pushes his mom to her very limit, much like Ryan does to me. I am just sending up some thanks to this child's guardian angel and hoping she sticks close, because that family is going to need it.
Now if mine can help me with this flag football problem and convince Dave and Ryan to pursue a less dangerous hobby, I would really appreciate it.