It may have been the saddest conversation I have ever heard. We were breakfasting in a hotel on the way to a speaking gig tomorrow in New Jersey and stayed overnight in a comfortable little spot. They serve a free breakfast and we went down to sample the buffet. As we were finishing, just a few minutes ago, I sat back in my wheelchair and took a hit of tea.
A couple came in, a few years younger than us, they looked incredibly tired. They sat at a table not far from us and spoke not a word to each other. They looked gray and wan. After they finished eating he said to she, 'Now?' She nodded as if it took every bit of energy to move. He pulled out a cell phone and punched in a number. Why people speak louder on the phone than in everyday life, I do not know, but they do. I heard him, everyone heard him.
"We thought we'd drop by and make sure your day gets off to a good start," he said after the hellos had been taken care of. There was a long pause and he said, "You don't want us to come by?" Again a long pause, "We just want to make sure ... ok, ok, ok.' Again he waited, his wife had eyes full of worry and hurt. "We'll just stay 15 minutes, maybe half an hour, we want to help." A long pause, everyone had stopped eating as a family drama of some kind played out before us ... "OK, we'll be there in a few minutes."
He hung up and his voice naturally lowered, I heard him explain to his wife that their daughter had been up till three in the morning, she was still extremely upset, she isn't up for much. "But we can come?" his wife asked.
"Yes, we can come," he said wiping tears from his eyes.
They got up to leave and as they walked by me I wanted to reach out and reassure them, odd that - I'm not even sure that reassuance is realistic, would be wanted or is appropriate, but I wanted to anyways.
Parenthood. How you all cope I will never fully understand. No matter what brand of kid you've got, that child will worry you all your days ... and maybe that's an ok way to spend all your days.