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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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