As I sat down at McDonald’s today to tap into their internet and slurp on an slightly sweetened iced tea, I was greeted by a family sitting two tables in front of me.
The dad in his early 20’s had droopy jeans, a knitted hat pulled over his head with a bit of hair sticking out, an unshaven face, and a couple of tattoos above his elbow peaking out from under his t-shirt. The mother had her back to me. She had shoulder length black hair with a black t-shirt. The youngest child (under 2) was in a highchair with his hair combed into a rooster type style. The older brother (no older than 4) was facing me, but blocked by his mother. He looked to be his younger brother PLUS 2 or 3 years.
As I notice the youngest brother begging pancakes off of his father’s plate, I see the smile on dad’s face as he continues to fill the nearly perpetually gaping mouth. I see little brother reach for dad as he goes to refill his Dr. Pepper (Don’t leave me dad.) . I see mom haul little brother to the bathroom to change a diaper. I see big brother watching everything going on while keeping the hand moving from plate to mouth. I see how both boys are wearing clothes that could easily be described as pajamas. I decide I will say something to the parents (see Blessed Eggs), but as they get up from their table, they go into the play area.
When they emerged from the play area, I couldn’t help but make a comment. I am not sure it was the best comment, but it was the one I had:
"You must be fun parents. Not every parent would let their kids wear pajamas on a drizzly day." "Thank you. The boys insisted. They just got their new pajamas yesterday.", she replied. "You guys enjoy the rest of your day.", I said with a smile. "You, too.", the dad said with a bigger smile
It isn’t your appearance or my standards that make you a fun parent. It is how your kids see you. I have no idea what this family’s home looks like, but I know this family knows how to love their kids. I am not so arrogant to think my words made any difference in their day, but saying the words did in mine.
Syrup on the pajamas? No problem. I am sure this loving mom will have them washed for bed tonight.