Friday, July 10, 2015
“True generosity is an offering; given freely and out of pure love. No strings attached. No expectations. Time and love are the most valuable possessions you can share.” – Suze Orman
Being a lover of all things Harlem, I didn’t think I’d ever utter the words, “I love Prospect Park.” Each time I go there, I get lost, and I enjoy every minute of it. Prospect Park is so beautiful, so peaceful, and you can feel a genuine love as soon as you enter the park.
Today was a beautiful day. I took my usual stroll around the lake, taking in all things beautiful, and enjoying the magnetic energy from everyone I encountered. I would up at my now usual resting place that gives me an up close and personal view of the water. With all of the beautiful scenery, peace, and genuine love, it was at this resting place where I had questions about love.
Whenever I sit on a bench by the lake, I always see families enjoying this same view, and enjoying it together. The key word is together. I see moms, dads, and their children spending quality time together. I see moms and their children spending quality time together. I see dads and their children spending quality time together. I even see entire families including the grandparents, spending quality time together. And then I saw a family that seemed very much broken. Where’s the love on a lovely day?
Walking towards where I was sitting was a married couple and their 2 year old son. There were swans in the lake, and their son wanted to get a closer look. Only the mother and son went to the edge of the lake to see the swans. What did the father do? He sat on the bench next to me, and complained about having to be in the park all day. Even upon the mother’s multiple requests to join her and their son, the father flat out refused, with such a nasty attitude. To make matters worse, at some point upon the 2 of them having a “long distance conversation,” the father shouted, “You’d better pray you don’t get pregnant again.” The mother looked frustrated. The mother and their son were still by the lake, and the father was still on the bench next to me, but now he’s striking up a conversation with me. He apologized for his son being noisy and unruly. I told him that no apology was needed, and that I work with kids. They get noisy when they’re excited. No problem. I felt awkward and a little disgusted at the same time, and the mother was looking at the both of us. Why is this man distancing himeslf from his partner and child? And why would he prefer to have an up close conversation with me?
The mother came over to the bench and pretty much forced their son on the father, and she sat down. Instead of spending quality time with their son at the edge of the lake, he decides to take out his phone and make a call to someone. I’m watching this father hold his son’s hand while standing a step away from where he was originally sitting. A few minutes into the phone conversation, and the father yells, ” I have to call you back. This kid is acting bananas.” This kid? This kid was acting like a 2 year old who wants to play, explore, and be payed attention to by his father.
The mother gtets up from the bench and intervenes by mentioning that she and their son wanted to find out where the drumming was coming from. The father shot her down again and said, “I’m not going way over there just so he can hear some drums.” I was glad when they finally left.
I thought about the difference bewteen this family and the families that I always see around the lake. The families that I always see around the lake are happy. They spend quality time together. They act like they truly love each other. I can feel their love for one another. This family that I encountered today wasn’t full of love. The father gave off a vibe of dissatisfaction with his partner and child, and the mother seemed frustrated and helpless. I was left feeling sorry for the mother and the child.
I believe time and love are the best gifts that one can give and receive. As I grew up without really receiving both of these things on a consistent basis, I truly believe this. I didn’t see the father giving time nor love to his partner nor his child. I’m not saying that he never does. I don’t know if he does or not. I just didn’t see it on this particular day. All I could think about was this: There’s a man somewhere that would love to be by their side. Here’s my question. Is finding a compatible partner so hard, that we have to settle for being in an unloving, unhealthy relationship? Here’s another question. Is the fear of being alone or lonely the one to blame for people settling? Love is complex, and I really don’t know the answers. I’ll tell you what I do know. I know that I deserve to be loved, and I don’t want to settle for anything less than that.