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An Open Letter to the Ladies at the Park

by The Next Family October 14, 2010

By: Danny Thomas

Look, I know…
Maybe it’s not what you’re used to…
A man in the park, with his kids
on a weekday morning.
Maybe it’s just how mixing the genders
Changes the chemistry of the room
Maybe it has nothing to do with me being a man.
But, jeeze you sure seem shut down.
You won’t look at me
Even when I say hi…
That’s weird.
And it makes me feel weird about myself.
Seriously tho,
I may have a bit of chaos in my bearing
Possibly a little more kid than parent,
Possibly a little aloof and awkward myself,
But, you have nothing to fear.
I am not after you or your kids.
I’m sorry if it seems like I am leering, scowling, or grimacing…
It has more to do with my lack of sleep,
Or need of a bathroom,
Than any misdeed I may be planning.
I have felt this way before, with other moms, at other playgrounds
In other parks
In other parts of the country.
I have also met friendly ladies
And other dads too
Willing to converse
At least share a “Hello, sure is nice out?”
Or more…
I don’t know what it is
But there is something in how you react to me,
Is it your body language?
Your downcast eyes?
Or just a distance you maintain…
I wonder if you think I kidnapped my children,
That I am some kind of Stromboli, or Brian Mitchell, or some other dark shadow lurking…
I really just came to watch my kids climb
And push them on the swing.
I wonder how much of this comes from my own baggage – and how much comes from you…
I did spend the better part of my youth cultivating feelings of existential angst and cultural aggression…
So I s’pose I am naturally predisposed to feeling excluded, via my training or whatever…
Could be a little bit of the old Mr. Mom complex is at play here too.
As the only dad at the park today
I feel out of place…
Like I walked in to the Red Tent…
Or opened the wrong door at the party.
It’s a lot like how I feel when I go to the spa…
Somehow it makes more sense at the spa.
But listen, here’s the thing: let’s at least smile and wave…
It’s a good place to start – it might help us both get past our baggage, and maybe make a new friend, at the very least we can be comfortable with each other here on this playground.

The post An Open Letter to the Ladies at the Park appeared first on The Next Family.

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