The Writing Mamas Daily BlogEach day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.
If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.
And for that, you are a goddess.
Friday, October 10, 2008
To Be Someone
Sometimes a child sits beside you, and you just have to say something.
I wouldn’t have predicted I would be that person, especially on that day. I had become frustrated by the children whose parents did not want to fish, but who came for the festival, and seemed content to let their kids crowd around us while my sister and I fished with our children. To avoid more feral kids I moved across the pond. After a thirty minutes respite, they came—a father and his daughter.
I felt jarred by the very first words he spoke to her. His tone was impatient, commanding, impersonal, as if he had come to fish and she was a necessary inconvenience.
“Now, sit down and stay still,” he said.
Overweight, about eleven and a very pale redhead, she started to protest that he had placed her in the sun.
“I’m not going to have you sit back from the pond just so you can be in the shade.”
He had a tackle box and an expert rod. She had a tiny plastic pink rod — something you’d give to a six-year-old. He cast her line and walked a few feet back to get his gear. She slowly reeled in her line.
He raised his voice, “I’m not going to keep casting your line. Leave it out there.”
I tried to ignore them. The father caught the first fish, praised himself for his prowess — this in a stocked fishing pond—and returned to berate his daughter again for tampering with her line, not sitting straight, not paying attention. . . I wanted to say something — watched her out of the corner of my eye.
When she hooked a fish her father stood some distance away involved with his own line. I called to him to help her. He grabbed the pole out of her hands and began reeling in her fish. I stood up and walked over.
“Let her do it,” I demanded.
Had I lost my mind?
And had he?
Because he listened to me.
He handed the pole back to her and she landed the fish. I sat down.
What was I doing?
When she returned to that bench in the sun to dutifully catch another, I walked over to her and said what I hadn’t heard her father say, “Good catch!”
Her thin smile grew slowly and she nodded at me.
Satisfied, I decided to leave these people to their particular problems and enjoy my day. Every once in a while I heard his voice, alternating between tenderness and agitation — at its worse, critical and demanding.
I heard enough and escaped again, moving back near my sister.
He, the redhead’s dad, came to us carrying a small white container.
“I caught my quota for today,” he said. “I used these red worms. Would you like the rest?”
As he stepped closer to hand us the worms, I surprised myself and told him, “You need to speak kinder to your daughter.”
He looked at me and bowed his head. “I know,” he said.
“She’ll remember how you speak to her for the rest of her life,” I said.
He made eye contact with me and sounded sincere. “I know. I will.”
My sister stared at me, but before she could speak another woman walked up to us. “I heard him talking to his daughter. That was good what you said to him. And good timing, too.”
I thanked her. I needed someone to say something, and just then, that stranger was my someone.
By Patricia Ljutic
By Patricia Ljutic
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