I was back at the YMCA for our Saturday routine. My son loves to play at the child center, and I love to do my writing. Win-Win! This is what I wrote during that time:
I just sat down at the lobby and settled into my usual chair with my laptop, and whom do I see? That same family — from last week’s”Open Letter” post — minus the mother.
The same girl who was having a huge meltdown is sitting on the floor, coloring like a normal kid. Her brother, who was adding to the torment last week, is on his tablet. Her father is still introverted, engrossed on his phone. And my heart is pounding.
She just headed off to dance class, so it’s just the dad and brother. I’m tempted to ask him if he was hear last week… Just a friendly question to start a conversation. See what he says….
(Ten minutes later…)
I did it! I reached out to him and we had a nice conversation. I asked him if he was here last week. At first, he acted like he couldn’t remember. So I explained that his kids look familiar to me, but I couldn’t place it… Was it from the Y? School? Town? We started chatting about what brings us here… my daughter’s gymnastics, etc… He said they come every week. Then his son wanted to go to Starbucks, so we talked about the different flavors… how white chocolate is an oxymoron to me. He laughed. It was nice. They went to get the kid his designer Starbucks beverage.
But then it occurred to me… if he comes here every week, why did he act like he couldn’t recall last week? In my own mind, I concluded that it was due to embarrassment from the display last Saturday.
They came back and we chatted until his daughter came back. We talked about everything under the sun: caffeine addiction; my tinnitus; how our kids got their names… and of course, my book! ; )
I managed to work “One Mllion Kisses” and my 153Promise trauma-free parenting movement into the conversation because he said how he and his wife went out last night. I mentioned how I had plans to see a speaker tonight… It’s a teacher/coach who speaks about his experiences (a future post this week) and I was going for research purposes regarding my promotions strategy. That’s when I saw it happen…
Once I began pitching my vision and mission statements, he almost cried. He said how difficult it is to raise kids, despite the fact that we love them. How the idea of a support group would be great.
His daughter came back from dance; I got my son from the play center; I gave the father my card; and we planned to see each other next week.
So here I am, Monday morning, turning this play-by-play into a post, and I’m filled with a bunch of reactions twisting in my mind:
- I’m so glad I approached him with kindness
- If my tactic were different, I wonder how he would have reacted
- This exchange could give credence to my theory that he’s been abused by her as well
- Interesting how the children were fine… not in her presence
- I’m encouraged by his reaction to my goals- maybe I can make a difference instead of preaching to the choir
- The L.O.V.E. approach works with my target audience, too!
- I wonder if he went home and shared our conversation with his wife
- Who’s going to be there next week? What will happen?
It just goes to show that you never know what is possible… Make it your #153Promise to be positive, be courageous, and be open to amazing things that can happen… and to see the amazing in the small moments.