Friday, April 23, 2010

Changing perceptions

I read a lot of horrifying things. Unfortunately most of them aren't fiction — they are probable cause affidavits of alleged child molesters.
Every time I read one it feels like a punch in the gut and makes me trust other people a little less with my children. We've always been lucky because my beautiful wife's wonderful mother has been there any time we needed someone to care for Big and Little sister. We don't worry about them at all.
We do worry about others, however, and haven't left either child with anyone who wasn't close trusted family.
Maybe I'm paranoid, but because of my own misgivings of others watching or playing with my children, I've always been worried about others' perceptions of me.
I love to play with my girls at the park. We run around the playground and laugh and chase each other. Often times other children will join us. This makes me self conscious — what are those other parents thinking as they watch some strange guy playing with their children.
Thursday I had a chance to see things in a different light and it was refreshing.
It a was a beautiful day. The beautiful Wife took Big Sister shopping because they needed to have a talk about something, so I walked to the park down the street with Little Sister.
There were probably 15 or 20 other children there with their parents. Little Sister and I began chasing each other around and before you know it we had picked up one, then two then three little girls and a little boy. By the end I counted eight children who were pretending to keep their gold — actually a pile of gravel — away from me.
I finally caught them — rather collapsed from exhaustion next to the slide. We all sat and talked for a minutes until one of the mothers on the side came up to me and said "we have to go now" as she pointed at her two little blonde girls.
"Thank you so much for playing with them, I was really tired and needed the break," she said.
That one sentence flipped my mind around and made me feel really good. Not every parent is paranoid about someone playing and having a good time with their children on the playground.
So, "thank you" mother of the two blonde girls for letting me play with your children and showing me that I don't have anything to be worried about.
Don't get me wrong, I'll still haven an eagle eye on my children.