The Drop-Off

I noticed them when I entered the busy Starbucks. A squirt of a towhead with a black skeleton shirt with his lanky, pre-teen sister. Stationed at a table, the boy popped up every few minutes, walking on his tiptoes like my little girl did. Their handsome father wore shorts and flip-flops.

I wondered if they were home schooled with Dad as their teacher. Or maybe he wore a fireman’s uniform–one day on–one day off. His eyes were riveted toward his kids with a huge smile stretched over his face. It made me smile as I sipped a half-caf-grande in a real mug.

I need to get out more.

The boy passed my chair two more times until I saw his eyes light up. “There’s my mom!”

I thought that an odd thing to say.

Then Dad kissed both children unashamedly and glanced up at a woman with wavy hair that matched her daughter. I thought I detected an emotional response to each, but as quickly as I noticed it, it was gone.

Both children met their young mother with a sweet greeting as she smiled and checked her cell phone. When I looked back at the father, he’d disappeared.

I swallowed.

It wasn’t what I thought. That’s the problem with getting out. There is sadness. But it must be seen. If I don’t see what is happening, I might assume that everyone was like me. From a family with a mom and a dad who not only loved each other, but on most days, liked each other.

How could I write to an audience that grew up differently. How could I care for them, when I don’t even know them.

It is good to get out, it’s just not comfortable.

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