“Well that was spooky! We got a message tonight from beyond the grave,” I said.
“I know, wasn’t that amazing?” asked my partner.
Our son was already asleep in the back seat of the car as we drove home from our supernatural encounter.
It had been one of those weeks when it seemed that everyone had some kind of criticism about our son. A new school year always brings a new cast of characters and a few bumpy adjustments for all of us but this week had really worn us down and we were running low on good will. Each morning as we walked to the bus stop I’d remind him: to raise his hand more in class but don’t interrupt the teacher so much; to participate more in class discussions but participate less in discussions with his friends during class; to enjoy his day but focus less on having fun.
Our relationship dynamic is this – I am the one who always tries to look on the bright side while my husband, being the Italian/American, tends toward the dark. The previous few days, however, had really taken their toll and I too was now veering toward the dark side – and then I’d remembered our invitation to the theatre.
It was the opening night of a visiting Australian production for families so we were all invited. With a significant lack of enthusiasm, we put on our best clothes and headed off to the city hoping for a pleasant distraction from our parental woes.
The crowded foyer took some negotiating with adults and children crowded together but it didn’t take our son very long before he had spotted another boy his age so he went off to talk to him. Our hostess appeared before us and immediately asked where our son was. I pointed in his direction and she was admiring his initiative in making friends when an older woman appeared beside her.
“Oh here you are…I really want you to meet my lovely friend”, our hostess gestured toward the woman. “This is Dr. Spock’s widow, ” she continued. Dr. Spock was the renowned pediatrician and bestselling author of Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care.
“Which boy is your son? “ Dr. Spock’s widow enquired.
I gestured toward him: “He’s over there, playing with that blonde boy.”
“You know, we are always updating my late husband’s work and we now write about same-sex parenting. He looks so happy and outgoing. It looks like you must be doing all the right things.”
“That’s very sweet of you to say, but we do have our doubts at times,” I laughingly replied.
“Well, you know that my husband always said that you should trust yourself, because you are the expert on your child”.
At that moment I couldn’t believe we were having this conversation. I was still digesting it as the bell rang for us to take our seats.
We drove home that night with renewed confidence, our spirits buoyed by this message from the dear departed parenting guru.
“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do. ” – Dr. Benjamin Spock.
Australian born, Jersey-dwelling Bryan Thomson-DiPalma is father to one remarkable 11 year old son and husband to his Papa. When not writing about parenting, he is a hair colorist and clinical herbalist, who combined these diverse interests into developing healthy natural hair products. Find out more at www.thomsondipalma.com.