The Sadness In Their Eyes

Posted: February 19, 2010 in Coping, Fatherhood, Grief, Parent, Parenting
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As I survey the classroom, I see parents sitting with their kids doing projects on parents day. The room is full, yet I see empty chairs. I begin doing a project with my daughter, and I see how happy she is. I become consumed with these empty chairs, I look around the room and see many expressions. I see happiness as parents interact with their children, I see the excitement on the children’s faces as they show off their accomplishments, and still I see those empty chairs. Next to those empty chairs are sad and numb boys and girls sitting by themselves. I counted ten such children and they all had one thing in common; an uncomfortable sadness filled their expressions. They look up at the door from time to time, hoping someone would walk through the door, each time a ray of disappointment embraces their expression.

One of the assignments for the parents was to write ten things they love about their children. The parentless girl sitting behind us was writing what her parents would say. I could tell this girl was starving for attention. I tried my best to interact with her, but seeing what she wrote was heartbreaking. The girl sitting next to her did no work, her head just slumped on her desk. I am sure she was trying to hide her tears. I see the parentless children, looking at the kids whose parents came. I sensed their sadness increasing. My daughters best friend, was one of the parentless children. She said that my dad doesn’t do things like this. She must have been in pain, because my  daughter was concerned about her. I offered to sit with her, but she declined. She sat there with her hands on her head; just staring into space.

The girl sitting next to my daughter, the one who looked up at that door every few minutes, only to be  disappointed every time. Towards the end she was consumed with so much grief she had to leave  the classroom. Finally with two minutes left on parent day she got her wish, her father finally came. I suppose it is better late then never. I was overcome with sadness for these poor kids. I wanted to give each of them a hug, and fill them with positive affirmations. I think what bothered me most, was my realization that I used to be one of those parents.

I was young when I was supposed to be a parent to my oldest son, and I had no interest in school activities. It was not a priority for me, thank god my wife had the correct priorities. I have grown over the years, and I can not imagine missing these important childhood experiences for my children. I enjoyed seeing the happiness on her face, I just wish this happiness could have been shared by all her classmates. I wondered is an activity like this a good idea? Is it fair to expose these parentless children. Is it right to put them through this sadness?

I wondered where these parents were, did they have some big meeting to attend, I would assume there will be many more meetings to attend, but very few parents day. I wondered if these parents were sucking on the bottle, or some other substances. You can clearly see the children who come from homes, which are diseased with addiction. I thought of the parents who had nothing planned for the day, yet chose not to attend. I feel for these children, and to any parents who are reading this remember there is nothing more important then your children.

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