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The View from My Window

It’s cold here in New York — too cold for a two-year-old who doesn’t like gloves or hats. This is why, every morning this month, I’ve sending Big Girl out to the bus stop by herself. Ever the helicopter parent, I park myself in front of the window so I can watch her obsessively until she gets on that bus. Little Girl sits there, too. We open the window and she screeches at the top of her lungs, “Sister, sister, I love you, Sister! Mommy, that my sister out there waitin’ for the bus.” And the kids look up and wave and tell Big Girl how cute her sister is.

Usually, they shuffle around until the bus comes. Today, as we were sitting there watching, it looked like the kids were feeling very rambunctious. The six or seven kids at the bus stop started an impromptu game of chase. Everyone except for my kid, who just stood there. A stranger seeing it unfold might assume my kid is lazy or uninterested in such games. But me and Little Girl, well, we knew better. Little Girl called it before I did, actually. Watching her sister’s body language she said, “Mommy, why my sister sad? Look, Mommy. She’s so sad. Awww. I love you, sister, I love you!” And in my head I agreed. I could see the shyness and uncertainty taking over Big Girl’s body. She desperately wanted to be running and laughing and playing chase, but she was too afraid. No one had asked her to play. She didn’t feel confident that she would be accepted, (as I know she would have been) so she stood there feeling bad about herself. Thankfully, the bus came a minute or so after the game began, and Big Girl boarded the bus along with everyone else.

As much as that moment squeezed my heart, I didn’t say anything to her when she got home. Not sure what I could say. Gee, Big Girl, I get it. I feel exactly like that sometimes when I’m in social situations. Paralyzed. Terrified. Shy. Afraid to do or say the wrong thing. Afraid that the other “kids” won’t like me. Even though I know that I’m being silly, all those thoughts go through my head. It’s so funny because in a work situation I know I kick a lot of ass. I can (and feel like I just about have) talked to everyone and anyone. I interview people for a living, and the majority of people just spill their guts. I make people comfortable. It’s one of the reasons I am a really great reporter. In fact, I wish I had a dollar for everyone who has told me I’m a great listener; that they felt like they had known me forever. I’m great with strangers in the store, the bowling alley, on the train, on the phone.

I’m going to be talking about New Year’s resolutions these next two weeks. And so I will state my first resolution: To get over my fear, and be able to live the line that Tom Cruise (playing Joel Goodson in Risky Business) immortalized. “Sometimes, you just have to say…”

One Response to “The View from My Window”

  1. Amber says:

    It’s so hard watching those moments, sometimes. At least it is for me. Knowing that you have to let them figure it out for themselves, but not wanting to see them struggle.

    Parenting is tough, man.

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