So I decide to take a ride on NYC’s underrated treasure; le Staten Island Ferry. As we are docking into the step-borough, a father of 4 stands next to me and my lovely company. He is having quite a time getting the kids on one accord. The two girls go off and have a conversation with two other young ladies. I don’t know if they JUST made friends with them, but if so, that is AWESOME. The younger son, who the Dad shared a matching Spider-man t-shirt with, was just spewing out random facts,
Next week is Saturday Daddy.
Then there was the youngest. He was toddler age and a VERY healthy baby. Because we were stationary and waiting to dock, he was having a F.I.T (furiously insane tantrum).
Knowing that the other 3 were OK, the father…excuse me DAD, focused all of his attention on his youngest boy. “What’s wrong? Are you okay? You have to wait until the boat stops. We’re going to get off soon. What do you want? You’re just tired. You’re tired. Yea, you’re tired. You want me to pick you up? You want to get down? You’re just tired.”
Needless to say, the kid never verbalized what was wrong. Everyone else was saying to themselves, “Awwww poor baby.” While I was in a crowd of two thinking, “Awwwww, poor Dad.” And of course, “If that was MY kid… (which I have none).“
But I was a victim of hindsight. Here was this MAN, there for ALL of his kids, and the youngest seed is giving him HELL. While I wanted him to do more for the distressed kid, I slightly understood he was doing all he could. And then I saw him reap the seeds of his patience. As soon as the crowd started moving, that kid was A-OK.
I then came across a great blog yesterday about a single father who judged a parent yelling at their child in the store, and everything fell into place. That man on the boat had a moment. In that moment, he did everything he could do right then and there. He picked up and put down his kid as many times as he needed. He kept talking to his child even though he would’ve had better luck with a brick wall. He stayed calm and composed. He kept a third eye and ear out for the rest of his kids. In that moment, to the untrained eye, he looked like a bad Dad. But that was JUST a moment. That man, that DAD had a parental foresight that NO ONE on that boat could see; When we get moving, he’ll be alright.
Everybody has their moments. It’s those clocked-in minutes we need to see to measure character.