John... I don't have a clue. I called the hospital and all they can tell me is that he was released. I understand they don't want to go telling strangers things about him, but that is all I know.
The creepy guy at the park avoids me. I think my talking to a couple of the park workers about him helped. He waves sorta, but that is all he does. I like that. I'll keep it that way.
The ducklings are starting to look like small ducks and are still very cute. I see them every single day.
Cute little boy? Well, it's odd, I see cutie, his brothers, and his father on a regular basis at the park. Quite a regular basis when I go for my afternoon walk.
And, as I said before, the father looks extremely young. I know, some folks who are older look young, but it isn't a case that this guy has just a round face... he just looks very young. His facial hair looks as if he's still not shaving every day. His body still has that I-haven't-quite-settled-into-my-full-for
He's just the most awesome father I've ever seen.
His kids are always clean. I mean, they might have a little dust from the park, but their clothing is always clean. The kids always smell faintly like soap, baby powder, and baby shampoo. Yeah, that could be mother, but like I said, this guy seems to have his children a lot. I see them at the park a lot and I know this guy works as a cook in a restaurant and works nights. I have the feeling that the kids mother works durring the day and he gets the kids while she works, then he works and she has the kids at night. Knowing how kids can get messy doing just about anything, I know Daddy plays a good part in those kids always being clean and smelling so good.
But, it's not just clean, it's the whole way he is with them. He takes them to the park and he plays with them. He's never rough with them, never yells at them, never even raises his voice, unless he needs to get their attention. If they do something that is "bad", such as running down to the water's edge without Dad along, Dad kneels down and talks to them in a gentle voice, telling them what they did was wrong and why. These confrontations usually end with hugs and back to fun and games.
Sometimes Dad brings a friend or two along. His friends look as young as he does, which also tells me that this guy ended up in the role of fatherhood at an early age. Friends don't seem to affect Dad much, as in he doesn't change who he is with the kids. He's not afraid to be loving and gentle with his kids. He also won't let his friends pick on his kids.
His kids are sweet, gentle, and polite. They always say, "hello," to me, I always say hello to them. The youngest one shrieks a lot (he's still a baby) but it's always this happy shriek like, "OH BOY I'M ALIVE! Isn't that great? Isn't it a terrific day? Aren't you glad to be alive too?"
And you hear that gleeful shriek and even if you are feeling a bit like life has kicked you, you do find yourself smiling.
As I said, I've been seeing them at the park a fair bit. And I've often been very impressed with what a wonderful father this young man is, but I've never really said anything.
Well, today Todd and I went to breakfast at the little place we go to quite often. While we were there, a man came in, who looked to be in his early 30's, wearing docker pants and a polo shirt. He had a little boy with him, probably around two. A cute kid with blond hair and expressive brown eyes.
Father sits at a table. Puts kid in a high chair. Pulls out his copy of the wallstreet journal, begins to read.
Kid starts looking around and making noises. Not extremely loud noises, more these, "I don't have all the words yet, but I want you to know I'm noticing things..."
Kid gets a little louder.
Dad finally ruffles his paper and looks at the kid. "Shhh, I'm reading!"
Kid looks around again. Finally, his eyes settle on me. His eyes light up and he starts making noises. Again, not loud noises, just typical, "I'm a kid" noises.
I grin and wave.
He grins a huge, toothy, grin and goes, "HI! HI! HI!"
Dad ruffles paper, scowls at kid and goes, "Stop that now!" Kid cringes and stares at table for a bit.
I try to ignore the kid, because I don't want to be the cause of his dad getting on his case.
On and on it goes. Kid tries to be happy, makes a bit of noise, father shushes him. Each time father shushes him, father sounds angrier and angrier. Now, we all know how I can be with noisy kids. I don't like kids that shriek for no reason. In fact, I'm the woman who has had no problem with telling customers where I work that they have to keep their kids a bit quieter because customers are complaining. So, when I tell you this kid wasn't being obnoxiously loud, you know I'm not bullshitting. Todd and I were right behind him. All the kid wanted was a little attention. All his father wanted was for him to behaive like a kid statue so he could be ignored.
All I could see was what should have been a delightful situation becoming agravating for both father and child. I'm sure Dad doesn't take kid out for breakfast every day. Kid was clearly impressed with the restaurant as all kids can be with new surroundings. All dad had to do was shut his paper, and pay some freaking attention.
Even when breakfast was served, dad just gave the kid some toast to chew on, ate his own breakfast and kept reading the paper. The only time he'd look away from his paper was when his kid was getting "too loud" to shush him.
By the end of breakfast, Dad was on his last nerve, kid was getting fussy and whiny. Father finally ripped him out of the highchair and said, "Well, clearly I can't take you, anywhere!" and stormed out the door with him, shoved him into the car seat in the back of his Lexus and drove off.
Okay, let's look at this.. Park Dad has four kids, he's young, and clearly does not make a lot of money They walk to the park, and I've seen Park Dad walking to work a few times, so I doubt he even has a car.
Restaurant Dad has expensive car, expensive clothing. He's older. People probably think he's the perfect age to have kids. Chances are that his son will go to good schools, go to college, probably even get a brand new car the moment he gets his license.
And, if I were in a position where I had a child I was going to give to one of them to raise, I'd pick park Dad in a heartbeat. Cause Park Dad may have several strikes against him, but he clearly loves being a dad and adores his kids. Maybe they won't have 600 pairs of brand new Nikes, but they'll have a father who cares for them, loves them, and they'll never doubt that for a moment.
So, today when I saw them at the park, I went up to Park Dad and said, "This is going to sound really odd, but I just wanted you to know that I think you are doing a fantastic job with your kids. You are a terrific father."
And Park Dad looked a little surprised, then gave me a lopsided grin and said, "Aw, it's easy when you have great kids like mine."
We need more parents like Park Dad. We really do.