I don’t like kids. Oh, I like my own kids and I like many of their friends and their classmates. But random kids, I’m just don’t’ want to deal with them. Mostly because I don’t find them very interesting. I get drained by their questions, their tugging on my shirt, by their childishness.
It’s not because they are noisy. Oh no, I’ll go to the mat over children’s innate right to make noise, to be a child.
I just don’t want to be trapped in conversation with one.
So of course that’s what happened the other day at the Mets game.
I went to get some snacks, and when I got back, my family had rearranged themselves in the seats so that I was sitting next to a kid. A kid who wasn’t related to me.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
“My name?” I asked him back. “You shouldn’t talk to strangers, you know.” Because I like to throw some wisdom in just in case.
“You’re not a stranger,” he said. “You’ve been here with your kids all afternoon.”
He had me there.
We chatted a bit, told each other our names and he told me that he lived with his grandparents. It was hard on them, because they were in their 60s, but he couldn’t live with his parents because they did bad things to him when he was little.
And that’s when my heart shattered into a million pieces.
“They did bad things to you?” I asked.
And he nodded. When he was two. But then he showed me the ball his grandpa caught for him at the game. “Awesome, right?” he asked.
I agreed and asked if I could have it. “Fat chance,” he said and we both laughed.
We laughed a lot that afternoon. We told each other jokes and laughed at the players. I asked him who he was voting for President and he asked me who was hoping to get it.
He was a kid. A 10-year-old kid who was not living with his parents for reasons that I find hard to imagine. And yet in the hours since I’ve met him, imagine it I did. And it keeps me up at night, it really does.
I guess there’s hope for curmudgeons like me.
Photo source: MorgueFile
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