Thursday, February 11, 2010


It occurred to me yesterday — as I was walking down Franklin Street toward the post office to mail some Valentine's Day cards & candy to my kids (sniff, sniff) — that parenting is tough, sort of, some days. And snow days, not to mention rainy days, even perfectly-cloudless summer days, could be so loooooooooong at times, way back when.

But being a kid is tough, too, as I remembered on another recent day, on another downtown street, when I was walking past a picture-perfect, centuries-old home and heard a child crying. It was the witching hour — dinner time, or just prior — when kids are tired and parents are tired and neither has much patience for the other. I wasn't eavesdropping (was I?); this home sat directly on the sidewalk and I just-so-happened to be passing by at the precise moment that one parent yelled (it was more of a roar, actually), "STOP CRYING!"

At which point the crying become wailing — wouldn't you cry harder?? — and I walked on feeling sympathy/empathy for both parties, having uttered (even roared) similar words to similarly wailing children (my own wailing children) at the witching hour, or any hour, many times ... way back when.

My destination was Yesterday's — really, it was — to meet Mr. Betty for a beer at the bar, where beside us sat a younger couple with a baby, a little one (three months old?), strapped in a carseat, propped on a barstool. The baby was fussing, and the fussing was escalating, and the mom — who no doubt had hoped he/she would drop off to sleep, but all bets are off at the witching hour — hopped off her own barstool to quiet him/her (whichever it was): her baby.

She said (or crooned), as she gently unclasped the unimaginable confines of criss-crossing, over-the-shoulders, between-the-legs carseat straps, "I know, I know. You've been in there all day. That sucks."

Whereupon she lifted her little one up/out of his discomfort, sat him (it was a he) in her lap, put his perfect little hands on the bar where he patted and patty-caked happily, then — only then — took another sip of her beer ...