Monday, May 26, 2014

The Memorial Day Encounter

This morning I took the boys to the Veteran's Memorial Park in Tuscaloosa in front of the University Mall. It wasn't because I was feeling particularly patriotic, so don't give me red and blue star stickers. But Noah was asking to go see the tank and airplane they have there and today seemed as good of a day as any. We lazed around longer than I thought and to get out outing in before Adam joined us for our BBQ lunch I skipped the shower threw on a clean UPES t shirt and left the house without make up. We drove though CFA for an ice cream cone if you are Noah and Miller's choice for a treat.....chicken strips. To my dismay there were tents set up at the little park, and veterans. A program was taking place. I couldn't turn around without the boys being totally bummed.  So I found some lip gloss in the glove box and slapped on a smile and hoped we could sneak by the tent without anyone talking to us. Delightfully it didn't go that way. 

We were stopped and handed a program. I explained quickly why we had come, to answer Noah's questions and see the tank. Our veteran was super friendly and struck up an easy conversation. He asked about my shirt and added he worked for an engineering firm, one that was always looking for ways to volunteer and become involved in outreach. We talked at length about the opportunities at the school and its engineering programs. He also offered for he and his wife to come and read with kids. He left us to get a business card for me. He rejoined us and sat down on a bench with us and shared stories about his grandsons. 

(Miller looking at the Jeep, he wants one for his "dirsday" but he wants it painted purple.) 

It was such sweet encounter, reminded me of my own grandfather. And also of how quickly children grow up and precious our time with them is. I have been feeling a little lonely these days, I have been missing the ease of friendship pre children, and my friends that are far away. In my busyness of babies and toddlers and working I didn't put in the work to maintain those friendships I valued and now I wish I done a better job. Today this kind man showed me without knowing it, that loneliness is universal to a degree. At some point we all feel it. A working mother of young children longing for adult connections beyond social media and a loving grandfather of teenage grandsons longing for the memory filled younger days. Searching for connections. I hope he comes and volunteers as much as he can this fall and his heart is warmed by the children he meets. His kindness to a make up and shower-less mother did not go unnoticed or unappreciated. 


Anonymous said...

Great day to go to Veteran's Park. Love of our country and American history will largely come from you and Adam. Thank you.

jennifer said...

Very sweet story

Mom said...

Good lesson for all of us in this encounter. How often do we miss such moments because we are in a hurry or have our eyes & hearts buried in our own lives too deep to notice others? I am going to take this story as a challenge to actively look for ways to interact with the people in my path throughout this week. Hopefully I will have a story or two of my own to share with you.