Most Saturday mornings you will find me at the Broad Street Market (the Market) in Harrisburg with my friend Abigail. We chat about everything and nothing over coffee. This is something we have done almost every weekend since Elementary Coffee Co. opened. We greet friends and acquaintances, and as usual, I speak to random strangers as they pass by. It is our time just to enjoy each other’s company, to discuss what is going on in our lives, and talk about the terrible tweens or teen years as single mothers raising sons.
One day a mother with her young daughter caught my attention. The two were in their own little world and having the cutest conversation while sharing a cup of ice cream. It brought back so many memories of when my son, also known as The Boy, was three or four years old. I could not resist taking a picture of the mother and daughter as they enjoyed their ice cream and the summer sun!
After I captured the image on my phone, I approached the mother and said, “I hope that I do not offend you or that you find this encounter too awkward. I am sitting over there with my friend-” She cut me off to apologize if her daughter was too loud and to ask if I wanted to move. I had to reassure her that her toddler was not a problem or an inconvenience to anyone. I exclaimed, “No, I just wanted to know if I could share this picture I took of you two together!” It was such a sweet moment. As I handed her my phone, she let me know that she is also a single mother without many pictures of her with her daughter. She nearly cried, I nearly cried, and Abigail told me to stop talking to strangers. We all chuckled and eventually went our separate ways.
I love people watching everywhere I go. I have found myself taking pictures of parents cheering for their children at sports events or acting as jungle gyms for their bored younger children while we sit as spectators in the stands. I do my best to support The Boy’s activities. Unfortunately, there are times when I have to work or conflicting obligations prevent me from traveling to away games. I am always disappointed when I miss his activities! I was unable to attend a wrestling tournament several weeks ago. One of the fathers noticed I was not there and sent me a picture of my son receiving a medal. That picture instantly made me feel better and brought me so much joy.
Recently The Boy asked me “Mom, Why did you take a picture of my Earth Science teacher on your phone?” I explained, “He wasn’t your teacher tonight! He was a father cheering for his son in a pretty tough match.” The picture that was causing my son so much embarrassment, confusion, and irritation was a father beaming with pride, a mother crying, and a little brother applauding with excitement. As The Boy tossed my phone at me, he mumbled, “Yeah, I guess that’s a pretty cool picture. I guess.”
As a single parent, I have so many pictures of my son. I have spent the majority of his childhood behind the camera, holding my breath as he recited his lines on stages, wrestling on mats, or tackling on the football field. I wish there were more pictures of my son and me together. So if you see parents cheering at sporting events, spending quality time together, or even if you notice that a parent/guardian is not present, take the opportunity to capture the image. The recipients may treasure that brief, special moment for generations to come!