Somthing I Saw at Lunch

Today I was having a working lunch when a family sat down beside me to eat.

The family consisted of a mother, father and adult son with special needs. I overheard that the son’s birthday was coming up and he was very excited. He talked about costumes and reminded his mom to make his favorite dessert.  She smiled at him as he ate like she has probably smiled at him thousands of times before. He told his dad that he would save some of his birthday money, spend some and wanted them to help him give some of it away. This conversation repeated itself a few times during lunch, like so many other conversations in their family probably repeated…with the parents listening patiently.

I thought about times when I have not shown my wife, children, family, friends, or strangers patience and kindness. It made me think of all the small, tender moments I miss because of the rush of the day, work demands and selfishness. It made me wonder about the sacrifice these parents had made to care for their son. What dreams did they give up on? What plans went unfulfilled?

It made me think of the most innocent among us who deserve better, but get far less.

When the family was leaving, I could see them get into their modest car. The father held the door for his wife and closed it for her. She was laughingly talking to her son who was now being buckled into the back seat by the dad. As the dad made his way around the car to the drivers seat, he was smiling.

Once they drove off, I was a little ashamed that I had not offered to help in some way, but what would I have done? What did they need help with? After all, they were the ones spending time together as a family, having a great afternoon and completely content.  Maybe it wasn’t a case of me helping them at all, but rather them helping me see something.

What I saw was a living picture of parenthood, patience, kindness, decency, dedication and love. By all accounts, not a bad way to spend lunch.

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