Tuesday, July 17, 2012

True Dad Stories 5

Yesterday in the seaside town of Monte Rosso I sat by the park, lost in the beauty of my surroundings and watching my three daughters play on the swings. All the world was peace and light, until I realized that, in fact, I was supposed to be watching my FOUR daughters.

Panic crashed into me like a boulder flung from the trebuchet of bad parenting.

I had offered to take all four of them to the park to give Anna a moment of peace, a walk alone, and a chance to look at hats. But apparently I’m like the last person you should leave kids with. I hadn’t seen Ronia in 15 minutes, maybe 20. I had left her on the steps of a church almost a block away (in a pedestrian-only section of the town, thank God). That’s a long time to leave a one-and-a-half year old.

When I careened up the street and around the corner, my three big girls trailing behind me, I found Ronia just where I had left her, happy as could be and under the care of a little (I’m not making this up) French circus family. They had a toddler of their own and the two babies were playing happily. The parents had convinced worried tourists not to call the police. They knew the dreamer-dad would realize his mistake and come running back.

Circus people.

As the scruffy long-haired dad and the mom in her flowing colors walked off with their toddler I felt like my own tribe had been looking out for me.

Still and all, I should probably be publicly flogged.


Red Herring Jeff said...

Circus people...
There's nothing quite like that feeling of panic when you lose one,and then the sickness that relief brings. Glad everything came out okay, and it goes to show that there really are good people out there, in spite of what the TV tells us :)

Christopher said...

Even Mr. Galbraith, the super-dad from "Cheaper by the Dozen," forgot one of his kids once at a restaurant. Of course, he had three times as many kids as you...

Daniel Collins said...

Imagine if Chesterton had gotten his wish and was able to have children. This would probably be such a common occurrence that Frances would never let Gilbert out of the house with the kids by himself.

anna said...

Curious mistery of Destiny... Ben, Sunday I was with my mom in Sestri Levante, just steps away from you ... Sooner or later I can meet you. These dad storyes are really beautiful and precious!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Mary and Joseph only had one child, and they left Jesus at the temple.

Kathy S said...

No flogging. You're a dad, what can we expect? Just kidding, you're a wonderful dad, with a momentary lapse of sense. Common among fathers. My own husband did the same, sort of when we had only two. But he them sat the 3 yo on the bench and said, "STAY HERE," while he went to hunt for the 1 yo. (This was at a large zoo.)
So, no flogging!

Jesica Davis said...

No flogging.

As Lenore Skenazy at Free Range Parenting is always saying: the thing to do is not flog the negligent parent, but LOOK AFTER THEIR KIDS TIL THEY COME BACK.

Those circus people did the right thing and what I always try to do for stray kids myself. And what someone just did the other day when my son ran out of Walgreens into the parking lot while I was checking a receipt.

Thank god for thoughtful people who understand the humanity of parents. We're all in it together.

Love your blog, Ben!

Ben Hatke said...

You guys are kind! And that's a pretty good point about Chesterton.

And Free Range Parenting! What a great name. Is that something like slow parenting:


Thanks for reading.

Jesica Davis said...

Ben, the wiki on slow parenting mentions Lenore! Here's the link to her blog. You may like it! http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/

Ben Hatke said...

Awesome. Thanks. Anna and I have an ongoing discussion about these various modes and models of parenting and schooling.

Jesica Davis said...

And thanks for having me realize, I AM A SLOW PARENT! Yay, there's a name for having the kids play all the time and have random adventures!

Ben Kobus said...

This so reminds me of the beginning of Ponyo!

Ben Hatke said...

Thanks Ben!

Yeah something about little kids at the sea is pretty fun to draw.

Kristina sitanggang said...