Weekly Special: This is me loving you

August 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

I know I keep talking about how I try to love my kids despite my imperfections, but I thought today I’d venture outside my home, where the tests are starker for me. At home, I know my family loves me and they won’t stop loving me. The larger world doesn’t have to make me that promise. It can ignore me, turn its back on me, and otherwise treat me like an piece of dust under a piece of dirt. Here’s me trying to love within the world around me.

There’s this guy that walks and bikes around the neighborhood who always stops and has the exact same conversation with us. He asks how old the kids are, suggests they are twins or sisters, and then finishes off by saying he still hasn’t been born. The order of his reasoning is always the same, and I answer questions cos I don’t want to leave him hanging. It seems important for him to finish this thought.

The first couple of times, I had no idea what was up with him. Some people just get into a loop with conversations, some don’t have a whole lot of social know how. Any time I’d see him, I’d chat a bit and then take my leave. Bilingual baby has always felt weird around him, so I try not to chat too long- she’ll ask me to go home/library/whatever, so I try to oblige both the guy and my daughter.

Some friends, my kids and I were all hanging out one day. The kids were playing in the Autumn leaves when this guy swung by the leaf pile, and us. He asked his same questions and we all tried to keep our part of the conversation going. We all silently agreed to that. He eventually left, which is when we began to speculate. One of my friends told me that she knew he had something else going on. A delay? I don’t know enough.

Fast forward a couple of seasons. I was walking with my kids, probably trying to get them to nap, when I saw this guy mowing the lawn. A woman came out. (I now put it together that it wasn’t his house and that he was probably mowing this woman’s lawn as a job.) This woman started telling him that he was doing it wrong, that he had missed spots. She went on. Her voice became silent to my ears. The scene was all visual to me. The woman’s body language was rude and insensitive. His spirit was ashamed and crushed.

I wonder how many people treat this guy this way? Who talks down to him just because of his delay? After seeing that scene I felt really glad that he and I had shared those repetitive conversations. I know other people in the neighborhood who also talk to him and don’t put him down. There are nice people in the world.

One of the things that bothers me so much is that this was a job for him. In the moment, watching that scene of him mowing, I couldn’t speak. I was watching but all I could do was walk forward. Now I cry. Not out of pity for the guy, but out of desperate frustration for the woman. I’d like to think that, although the guy in this story gets put down, the woman is also a victim to herself. I can’t say for sure, but based on her berating, I’m guessing they’ve both been ignored, had the world turn its back on them, and otherwise been treated like an piece of dust under a piece of dirt.

This is me loving them.

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