Monday, July 16, 2012


While we were on our recent trip to Portland, we stopped in some random town to get some fuel, both for the car and for ourselves. Knowing that our check-in time for the hotel was not until 4:00 pm, we decided to kill some time in the local Dairy Queen.

When I say the local Dairy Queen, don't be fooled. This was a deluxe Dairy Queen, complete with newish furniture, free Wi-Fi, and an indoor play place.

Both Munchkin and Munchkenna were excited to go explore the play area after smarting down a grilled cheese sandwich. There was another occupant already climbing up and down the play padded path—a cute toe-headed boy with a shaggy haircut. His mom sat texting/checking Facebook at a nearby table, not paying him much attention.

I felt sorry for the little tyke. Mom didn't seem interested in the kid, and he clearly wanted some interaction. He started playing with our little girls and tried to keep up with Munchkin, who ended up being about 6 months older than him. He started to follow me around, indicating with mostly points, grunts, and smiles (and a few words) that he wanted to show me something or follow Munchkin.

After following us down the slide meant only for children (as in I had a really hard time getting out of the tube at the bottom because the height was equal to the length of my torso. If I could have lopped off my head, it would have been cake to get out of this slide), he said something that made my heart sink a bit: daddy.

His mom flashed a nervous smile at us, half-hoping we didn't notice. He repeated himself, and cheesed at me as only a two-year-old can cheese. He continued to follow us around, and we included him in our play.

Mom felt a bit awkward, as she didn't have a wedding ring on, and she seemed quite young. I got the impression that a young man had fooled her into thinking that he loved her and ran away when he found out she was pregnant. After about two more minutes, Mom grabbed the kid's shoes, fastened the Velcro, and headed out to the park where she would probably begin using her data plan on her phone instead of the free Wi-Fi.

I felt sorry that this little man was going to miss out on having a dad around. He seemed well adjusted, but knowing how much Munchkin and Munchkenna pine for me at times, I can only imagine how frustrating it might be to have that missing from your life, but not understanding enough to verbalize that frustration. He probably doesn't even know what he is missing out on.

I hope this little guy finds a daddy, and that his mom can find someone who cares enough about her to stick around, even when the going gets tough. Without some of the hard stuff, you don't get to know the great stuff.

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