Monday, March 03, 2008

Hug a Kid Today


Every morning on the way to work I listen to a morning radio talk show called the Ace & TJ Show, syndicated in North Carolina, Alabama, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Mississippi. The lively and hilarious characters that make up this sometimes corny show are pop culture gurus who talk about what’s happening in American Stupid News, American Idol, Britney, J-Lo’s newborn babies, and anything else we might be losing interest in, and, they talk about their own lives with surprising honesty.

I wasn’t laughing out loud or grinning from ear to ear this morning. Today was different. The show began as usual being insanely funny (I like starting my day with a smile) until TJ, a co-host, began sharing a poignant story about his little boy.

Saturday was “Buddy Day” for TJ and his four-year old son. They had big plans to go to the park, have lunch at a Mexican restaurant, and visit a four-wheeler store. Like every other four-year old, he was overjoyed with the play equipment at the park so TJ sat on a bench nearby and read a book while watching his little boy often. He noticed his son was on the top of the tower, just standing there, while the other children rushed by him for their turn on the sliding board. TJ thought this was odd and walked over to him, looked up to the tower and questioned,

“Why aren’t you playing?”

His son replied softly, “Oh, I’m just tired, Daddy.”

TJ didn’t understand and coaxed his son, “Oh, come on! Have fun while we’re here!”

His little son replied, “Ok, Daddy.”

Minutes later, his son hadn’t moved from his secure spot on the tower and TJ noticed there were two large dogs on lead nearby with their owners. This time, his little boy cried when he saw his Dad approaching,

“I’m afraid of the dogs, Daddy!”

“Those are nice dogs! Why are you crying? Don’t be afraid, son, and come down here!”

TJ carried him to the car, fully understanding his son’s fear of any dog larger than a Yorkie, but he was angry.

As his little boy sat in the back seat of the car, trembling and sobbing, TJ lost it and threw harsh words at him,

“What is wrong with you! Stop crying! The other boys weren’t afraid of the dogs and they weren't crying… You’re afraid of everything. You’re afraid of this, and that, and things that other boys aren’t afraid of…”

His little boy was speechless and still crying until TJ said angrily,

“So, what else are you afraid of!”

The little boy hesitated for a moment, then timidly whispered through his tears,

“You? I’m afraid of you, Daddy.”

Silence on the airwaves.

Painful silence.

Seven long seconds of silence…

TJ interrupted the silence, voice quivering and choking back tears, but told the end of the story. He drove into an empty parking lot, stopped the car, and walked to the back seat to hug his little son. They had a good day.


Because of allergies in the family, they never owned a dog but they are going to get a large breed soon. I was tempted to e-mail the station and suggest an allergen-free Boston Terrier. Also, I wanted to personally thank TJ for his sensitivity, for making me search my car for Kleenex, and arriving at work with tear stains on my cheeks! I cry easily in the mornings.

I’m just guessing, but I think even the most loving parents have moments like this with their little children. I’ve lost patience, too, and I remember a time when my daughter, then about seven years old, had a fit about the incorrect way I fixed her ponytail – after the third try, I yelled and whacked her on the head with the hairbrush. She was unharmed because her head was too hard to notice.

I just had to share this little story. I suggest that we all hug our kids today, or if you’re miles apart, send a virtual one.

In case I made you feel a little down, here’s something that might brighten your day,


Canada Goose and Stars.

Beyond the railroad tracks, a February sunrise. It was beautiful to me.

Gotcha! Hard to photograph…The Tufted Titmouse is so quick and On To Me.


What? Don’t holler. We’re innocent!


Cathy said...

Mary. Thank you . . .

for T.J's story. What a brave man to share it along with his tears.

I'm so glad you followed it up with sparkles and the cutest dogs in blogdom. That look! I'm carrying my laptop over to my hubby, yet again - to share a Mary's pix.

thailandchani said...

Good point in the story. I can't imagine the strain of being a parent, day in and day out. I'm sure I would have lost it, just like TJ did.

Beautiful pictures. As always. I hope you don't get sick of my saying it. :)

Jayne said...

I think we've all been there at one time or another... it's part of being a parent and being human. Before Sam was diagnosed, I know my frustration caught him and me off guard many times. There just seemed to be no rhyme nor reason. Glad TJ shared that and learned from it.

nina at Nature Remains. said...

Nice of that personality to share such an indicting story--many would've been too proud to admit wrong.

It seems his heart is in the right place, though--and much good could come of this. Often, one's admission of guilt brings forth many others' company.

And, sometimes it's not until (too) long afterward that we realize our wrongs.

NatureWoman said...

Sniff, sniff, you *know* how I feel about kids, Mary. Thank you for this story. I'll hug tons of kids when I go to work tomorrow.
I wear fleece to work everyday to keep warm and to help kids that I hug to feel warm and snuggly. I rubbed the back of a problem child we have but I love and he put his head on my arm and said "Oh, Miss Pam, your shirt is soooo soft." Kids make everything worthwhile, really. And I can't stand when people are mean to them, especially parents.

Anonymous said...

Sniff. Sniff. Thanks for sharing. What an amazing moment of honesty. Parenting is such an amazingly hard job. I know I have days when I have to apologize to my children for saying or doing something in haste. Sigh.

beckie said...

Mary, I thank you also. Parents, even grandparents need a jolt once in awhile to remiond us what it is like to be a child. Hugs may not cure, but they lessen the hurt greatly.

I've been wanting to do a post that is about a personal journey. Maybe now I can. Thank you.

RuthieJ said...

It's so easy to lose patience, isn't it? I guess that's one of the reasons why I never had kids. (But the dogs still love me even when I yell at them)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the perfect day to hung a kid! Love all this and congrats on your other photos! The Titmouse are hard to capture!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Oh Mary, we are too soon old and too late wise. I hope this expose about his son helps others. I am sure it will.

Love seeing your sweet Bostons. They are indeed innocent.

Mary said...

Tom, you said, "Hung a kid?" Did you mean "Hang a kid?" LOL! Sorry, you made me laugh :o)

Carol Michel said...

Good for that guy to tell that story. No child should fear his/her parents, but sadly, too many do.

BTW, those BT's in the last picture look like they could use some hugs, or good belly rubs, too.

Anonymous said...

Several years ago I used to listen to Ace and TJ every morning. They are hilarious. Our local station quit carrying their show. Maybe I'll try and listen to them online sometimes.

Great pic of the titmouse!! And the girls look sweet as always!


KGMom said...

Others have commented on the TJ story--so I will not.
But I must comment on the two girls looking so guilty, and so coy.

Susan Gets Native said...

Sniff....I'm kinda raw right now anyway, and then this...
Kids try your patience. Period. And even good parents lose it at least once.
When I get too crazy from the kids and I say something mean, I calm down and apologize...then explain that everyone gets angry sometime, and that self-control is important.
And I spend lots of time afterwards wallowing in self-hate and loathing.
That was quite a story, Mare.
The dogs helped....does a BT ever look innocent?

Unknown said...

Mary the story has passion and really makes you think how you say things to your kids. I was near tears till I read in your comments your response to Tom's typo. Now I am giggling.
You are to much.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

I love the goose with the stars!What a great picture.

It would be great if we could all remember the admonitions of Proverbs, "Reckless words pierce like a sword, the the tongue of the wise brings healing".

Alyssa said...

Dear Mary - Sometimes total strangers can wake us up to the truly important things in life. I'm glad TJ was able to realize his mistake and share it with everyone.

Your sunrise is beautiful! I understand why you took it.

Oh, the girls look so sweet with their toy piglet. You always have such nice pictures of them.

And who is the child holding the chick in your first picture? It's very cute.

It sounds like your week is starting out on a very positive note. Good for you!!

Sherry at the Zoo said...

What a great story. Our kids are still asleep, and I plan to give them big hugs when they wake up.

Hugs to you as well....

Thanks for sharing.

Kerri Farley said...

Wow....being a parent is HARD! And you really don't realize that until you are a parent. Whew...I've had a few days like TJs.

Your shots are AMAZING as usual! And the bluebirds from the prior post are SOOOOOO LOVELY! My Favorite Bird!! I don't get to see them as often as I would like to!

Mel said...

Thank you Mary for sharing TJ's story and your own.

I have no kids (yet), but I've worked with them in the past, and sometimes, we, as adults, forget how impresionable a young kid can be.

They look up to us and episodes like that (so common for grown ups) is a shocking moment for a child.

I have no kids :( but will think of my nephews and hug them mentally :)

This is a good reminder, thanks!



Chrissie said...

A very poignant story, Mary. It does bring tears to your eyes. Phone the station and suggest your little Bostons, you never know they may decide to have one :-)

Cheryl said...

Your story brought tears to me eyes, I hug my children and grandchildren lots......I am a great hugger. I think we have all been in that situation where we lose our temper, and so regret it afterwards. We have no training for parenting.

Love all photos but, yes, you've guessed it, I'm hooked on your

Cathy said...

Mary! You crack me up! I guess Tom hasn't been back over here! :0D

Sandpiper (Lin) said...

Such a good story, Mary, and I love that picture at the top of the page!! All the pictures today are lovely - the sparkling goose, the sunrise, the titmouse and the two cuties posing for the camera!

Anonymous said...

Well, I had to go get a tissue before I even finished reading the story!
I didn't realize that titmice were hard to capture. I thought I was the only who couldn't do it!!

sonia a. mascaro said...

What a moving post, Mary! I also have tears on my eyes...

Love your sunrise's photo!

Anonymous said...

I don't have kids; is it okay if I hug my cats? They've been running around like stampeding horses - in the middle of the night. And though Emmaline is becoming very affectionate, Minou is reclusive. Your telling of TJ's story encouraged me to keep giving him love and waiting.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
I like what Lisa said, "Too soon old and too late wise'. Maybe TJ's story will remind a young parent to think before they speak or act.
Tufted Titmouse is so charming!
Hugs to the girls.
Another wonderful post.

Donna said...

I must say after reading such a sad story and then moving on down your beautiful photos, there were your dogs, and I laughed out loud!

Larry said...

Beautiful images.-One bad moment of a parent losing it with a child can really stick with their memories for along time. That's why being a parent is such a difficult and important responsibility.

JeanMac said...

Oh, those stories make one think!
I love the pic of your 2 dogs - I wish they could speak "human" - the looks on their faces are precious.

TR Ryan said...

You should have posted a kleenex warning first! Don't think a Canada Goose begins to make up for it!

Talk about sensory overload - girl you know how to work that light in your photos. I want to sit at that spot on your pond and shoot those fish all day long -- those colors and that movement of water are so out of this world.

My kid post today is just a wee bit different.