My husband and I both worked extra at our jobs this weekend and still spent time unpacking and organizing our new abode. So, late this afternoon we decided to treat ourselves with ‘breakfast’ at our favorite eating place, Cracker Barrel in Sunbury, Ohio.
Our server remembered that Jim likes LOTS of cream with his decaf coffee and I always order tea. She asked how the dogs were doing and about Jim’s work. It's nice to be remembered.
Jim and I were deep in conversation about where things would be put in the house and how many night-lights we still need. I told him about getting locked out of the van this week at the dumpster when I left the motor running, and he updated me on crazy things going on at work.
Suddenly our attention was drawn to the table next to ours because a family with five kids had come in to be seated. Two were crying and all were noisy. The parents were lacking in communication. I told Jim they reminded me about a program on TV where this family has 17 kids and all are always so well behaved in the TV show. This little civilization sitting next to us had bad vibes.
Most noticeable was a little boy who looked about 10 years old, but the oldest of the kids. He sat next to his mother and across from his dad. Most disturbing were the quiet threats the mother was making to the little boy. “When we get home, you will get two swats!” Pretty soon she was up to 10 swats. We couldn’t take our eyes off of the little boy because he didn’t seem to be doing anything wrong to us.
By the time I was getting a refill on my tea, the stern mother was taking away any food being served to the little boy. “But, I’m so hungry”, he cried as big tears ran down his face.” All the other kids and each parent got served big steaming mugs of hot chocolate with heaps of dream whip on top, but the little boy got none. He cried and cried.
We couldn’t stand it any longer. We asked for the check and had to walk out. I wanted to go up and hug the little boy so badly. Jim says he wanted to tell him, “It gets better when you turn 18”. I can’t get his sweet but heartbroken little face out of my mind. And, I’m terribly sorry that I didn’t go give him that hug although the action might have caused the mother to be even meaner to the child.
How can you take a child to a restaurant and then deny him food? How can your not react to a weeping child who seems willing to do anything you ask?
While checking out, I was able to make eye contact with the mother. I give her a long hard look! She looked away, but I saw her glance back at me as I continued to stare as long as I could.
I’m sure that during my childhood, others witnessed my sister, Sandra, and I being treated much the same way many times. (Although grandma was very good at hiding her anger and mistreatment of us in public.) I don’t know how I would have reacted if some stranger had come up and gave me a hug. I’m sure I would have had no idea what it was all about. And, I’m just as positive that something like that would have angered grandma even more when we got home.
But, here’s that hug, sweet weeping child. And a whisper. “You are loved, little one. Oh, how you are loved.” I wish I could have made today better for you. Perhaps someday you can have all the hot chocolate your heart desires.”
Take Care on the Journey,