Monday, May 16, 2011

Is She Looking?

They ran from game to game. Parents stood in groups laughing and oblivious. I watched.

"Grammy, are you coming to the Carnival?" Gabby asked.

"Wouldn't miss it," I replied.

I've noticed the same pattern in the past. Ballgames, scout meetings, all sorts of events, sometimes even including family events.

I'm not criticizing here. I am making an observation as a former child, parent and grandparent. We don't need to glue ourselves to our children, but we do need to sometimes stand back and look at what they view.

I was an invisible child. My parents were busy with the farm, their church, the youth. My sisters left the farm seven years before me. I knew when I had kids that I would not be that parent. I knew that the attention I gave to my children was important. Even that silent attention.

Gabby took off across the gym looking over the games. I followed. Yes, she is old enough to go on her own, but this wasn't about safety. This was about taking part in her life. I knew that when she stepped up to toss a bean bag, she would look to see if I was watching. There an invisible communication that takes place. A question is asked: Is she looking? A question is answered: Of course I am.

I stayed at the carnival for awhile then realized that I needed to leave. My son-in-law was giving that attention to his girls. I needed to step back and allow his to be the face she saw. As I left, I again saw the groups of parents chatting away. The children were busy playing games. They all seemed happy with the arrangement.

During the years I worked with teenagers in high school theatre, one question came up time and time again before the curtain went up.

"Have you seen my parents?"


  1. All too true, everyone - especially children - needs an audience. I recently drove a couple hundred miles in driving rain to see my first Grandson's musical performance - singing and lines!

  2. Marie,

    I am cheering for you. In fact I'm giving you a standing ovation!