I am sitting at a table in Panera, on a cool October evening, and watching one of the truly joyous things of life: the playful chatter of someone else’s child.
Mother has obviously had a more tiring day than the child. He is burbling “hot” and talking about the fascination of the gas log stove here beside us.
Then their food is ready — signalled by the lighted vibrating call device, and they come back with their food. At first he tried spooning his soup onto his chips to eat it, but after some frenetic redirection, he uses the spoon correctly to eat the soup, and reaches for a napkin when necessary.
Mother is a little more concerned than we outside, amused, observers about some of his foibles, but takes it all in a very gracious way.
Reminds me of how much energy it takes to be a parent, especially at the first stages, and how easy it can be to lose sight of the true joy of those times. They go, never to return again, except in memory.