November 4, 2008

She comes into the library several times a week, with her son, who appears to be about six years old.  Even during the summer, they sit in our computer area for hours while the little boy plays online computer games and his mother plays more adult online computer games.  She doesn’t always watch him, and he’s fast, and our doors are heavy and our patrons, mainly students, are preoccupied and don’t always pay attention to where they are walking.  She doesn’t always watch him, and he sits on our tall computer stools that could be dangerous if tipped over.  She doesn’t always watch him as he makes his way into the hallway, to the men’s bathroom, alone.  He’s right next to her most of the time, so most of the time, I think, he is safe.  But he is so often ignored for the sake of whatever she’s involved with on the computer screen.

And I don’t know the real situation, what their lives are like, why they aren’t out in the park during nice weather or playing together at home during rotten weather.  And I have no idea that I’d do any better job with a child of my own; I’m far, far from perfect.  And I should know better than to judge.  I hate it that I do, but I do.  Maybe if I write it out here, I will be able to stop.

But he’s right there, right next to her, this incredibly alive little boy, beautiful and breathing, and she doesn’t even seem to notice how amazingly lucky she is.



  1. It’s so hard, isn’t it?

    I’ve shared so many similar experiences… makes you want to take the parent by the shoulders and shake.

  2. It’s hard and heartbreaking at the same time. I know that feeling of not wanting to judge, wanting to be open to compassion- but at the same time staggering under the weight of the unfairness of it all (or at least the perceived unfairness).

    I’ll say it again because there isn’t really anything else we can say and yet we cannot say it enough. I’m so sorry Teddy isn’t here with you, where he should be.

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