There is a small café I like to visit every two or three weeks. The food isn’t great, but is OK. The thing I like about it is everyone, from the owners, to the managers, to the help, are extremely friendly.
I’ve been stopping there for years. The managers are a husband and wife team. They have a son who is about 8-10 years old who is always there.
A couple of years ago the wife got pregnant. She popped out a baby girl. Since they keep the baby with them at the café, I’ve been an observer of the baby since her birth.
Like her parents, the baby is very friendly. Her mother usually brings her by my table where we high five a few times. She always smiles and laughs.
Last week the baby took a few steps on her own. She was a year and three months old.
It’s been interesting to follow the baby’s progress from birth to toddler. I think I’ve enjoyed watching because I missed much of my son’s early years as I cared too much about work. Going to a Little League ball game or taking him and a few friends to a movie was an imposition. Now that it’s too late, I deeply regret not spending more time together.
I rationalized my inattentive parenting by telling myself that my work enabled my son to have a better life with things like private schooling, nice clothes and cars, a British nanny, and living in a big house in an excellent neighborhood. Looking at things today, I think this baby has a great life growing up with her parents and her brother in the café while learning to walk in a parking lot. Which life is better? I’m not so sure anymore.