The dad met us at a park. I had met my friend, the mom, there less close to two hours earlier. Now she had to go run and errand, so they were switching off. He was going to watch his daughter while our children continued their play date.
Well. after they switched off, he switched off. And switched on his Blackberry. As usual.
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If his kid would have fallen off the slide, he would never have noticed. If his kid had eaten candy fromthe floor, I guess the kid would be eating candy off the floor. if his kid was being terrorized by a rabid pack of red-eyed squrrel, I guess it would be up to me and a handful of other mommies, daddies and nannies to fight them off. I imagined that as one of those movie scenes where the direector is setting up just how big and bad the alien is by having it pick off random citizens.
Cut to man looking at Blackberry.
90 foot Monster approaches. People are running and screaming, cars are blowing up from the heated breath fire of the terrifying creature, trees are breaking like toothpicks under its tremendous weight. A fire hydrant is knocked out of the ground sending water squrting up from the sidewalk, but the man is too engrossed in technology to notice.
He looks up at the last minute.
You could say he wasn't watching becausehe knew I was there. So I won't pick on him. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. I've seen him on the Blackberry at the park EVERY time I've ever seen him, at the mall when I ran into them, and at their child's birthday party, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. But I've seen so many adults doing this. It's not just daddies. It can be moms. And nannies. One of the reasons I moved from NY were how the nannies were when the mom's were away. You'd see the kids in strollers and the nanies talking on their cell phones. Or the kids would be in a bookstore and the nannies would be talking to each other. The kid would be chewing a book, still in the stroller.
"What did you do today," I imagine the mom saying to the nanny.
"I took Liam to the bookstore."
"How wonderful. He loves books."
I am always reminded of that song "Cat's in the Cradle" where while the child is growing up, the dad has no time for his son. Then once the son is older and the dad wants to spend time with him, the son has no time for the dad. All through the song, as the verses narrate the stages of growing up, the son grew up saying "I want to be like you dad" and now he was.
Yes, kids can be tiresome. Yes, you can't spend all time with them. But what is the percentage you should spend? I know of many stay at home moms who leave the child-raising to the nanny.
And, yes, I'm a working mom. I don't have the option to spend all day with my kid. But I can tell you when I'm with her, I am fully there and fully engaged. (unless it's past 8:30 p.m. which is my melting time) And when I'm not working 98% of her waking time is spent with her. 80% of that time is spent doing things she likes. I use the phone rarely when I'm with her, mostly to call other parents to arrange play dates. How this will turn out? Will she recognize I was there or remember when I wasn't? Will she think I gave work a greater imporance than her? I wonder if she'll feel I abandoned her when her teenage hormones kick in. I wonder if my daughter wants to grow up like me.
All this really makes me appreciate my mom. I've always wanted to grow up like her.