Last week during music at the St. Augustine Gazebo I people watched a man with his young son. I assumed the child was about 12 as he was 5 feet, gawky and in that stage. After they placed their chairs on the grass “dad” discovered a cadre of his friends. He proceeded to introduce the child then left him and walked with his friends to get a beer from their stash.
As I watched I saw the child look over at his “dad” several times. I felt sad as I continued to watch the child. I wanted to say or do something, but they have guns in Florida and I knew I best keep my tongue.
Fifteen minutes later “dad” returned and sat next to the child pulling out his phone. He didn’t even acknowledge the child upon his return. The music had begun to play but gee he could have at least smiled at the child or said hello.
From there it got worse as within 5 minutes “dad” was up again looking to go to the loo. That’s the bathroom in Britain and I like that phrase so I’ve coined it here. When “dad” returned once again there was no acknowledgement of the child but the phone was pulled out and for the rest of the concert not one word was exchanged between the two. It was like the child was invisible. Was the man actually aware the child was there?
Another event I recall was in a McDonald’s parking lot where “mom” was on the phone. The children couldn’t get her attention so they smiled and waved at me and we had a short conversation regarding tasty fries. Me of all people doing this. What has happened?
Perhaps the worst offenses I’ve seen were on the NYC subways. I don’t know how they do it with cell phone black outs but parents are constantly on the phone to friends or whomever yakking and avoiding the children. It’s epidemic and needs to stop.
While I have never considered myself much of a mother I have always tried to talk to my daughter, she’s 34 now. She is never totally fond of what I have to say and rarely returns a call but we do exchange texts once a week. I’m told this may change. God knows I’ve read enough books on how to talk to your adult child. And when I really want to get her attention I write her a letter. She’s told me she always reads those.
I’m sending this out today as weekend visitation is approaching for those divorced parents. So, bottom line:
PUT DOWN THE PHONE AND TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN