Parenting looks the same wherever you live
Parenting seems to be the same around the world. Whether you live in the United States or Greece, all parents have their hands full with a four-year-old boy.
Today, I’m watching a mother, father and their son who looks to be about four at the Liosion Bus Station in central Athens.
A pigeon is swooping its way through the bus station lobby, which includes a cafe, a mini grocery, a trinket shop, and a bookstore. The pigeon flutters from one side of the lobby to the other.
The patient father follows his son casually around the lobby. The boy jumps high whenever the pigeon swoops low. He can’t reach it, much less catch it. In his green t-shirt with a tiger emblem and bright yellow shorts, ankle socks and grey tennis shoes, he reminds me of my own son many years ago.
He squeals whenever he swipes at the bird, but eventually gives up when the pigeon escapes out the lobby door into the crisp, early afternoon sun.
All the while, Mom has been arranging bags and luggage around a small table in the cafe specifically purposed to provide pastries, sandwiches, candy, and drinks to waiting bus riders.
Eventually Dad and the boy return from their pigeon escapade. Now the boy wants to investigate things over here.
Mom, wearing her jeans and a white t-shirt emblazoned with BEAUTY in all capital letters, leads him to a freezer case of ice cream novelties. He isn’t interested, but she pulls a treat from the case anyway.
They both step over to the cafe counter to pay. As she pays, the boy lifts a bag of almonds from a nearby display, runs back to the freezer case, and drops the nuts inside. Mom misses it all.
They both return to Dad. He’s wearing a faded blue polo-style shirt with a Union Jack flag on the sleeve and the words GREAT BRITAIN embroidered along the lower edge.
Mom is carrying the ice cream bar, now unwrapped. It’s a strawberry pink bar in the shape of a foot. The toes are dipped in chocolate. She bites off the big toe and sits down.
She spouts off a string of fluent Greek to her husband who nods and smiles.
As she cools off, her son decides to tidy up the place. He picks a plastic straw wrapper off the next table over and wanders over to a nearby trash can and drops it in. At least this time, the object being dropped belongs there.
A tanned old man is sitting by the trash can. He scowls at the boy and glances at his wife as she sips from a can of Coca-Cola Light.
An announcement is made from the station intercom. Time to pack up.
Mom pats her black canvas crossover bag, and then straps on a blue backpack in the shape of an owl. Next, she hoists a purple floral backpack onto her other shoulder.
Next, she lifts the handle on a lime green and royal blue wheeled suitcase, grabs a white plastic grocery bag from the tabletop, and—nearly invisible behind all the luggage—hauls herself out to the platform area.
Dad grabs the boy. Based on the boys’ earlier antics, I’d say they have divided the workload evenly.
My eyes return to Mom gliding across the lobby. Two giant black eyes on the owl backpack glare menacingly as they jostle out of sight.
Thanks for reading! I’m sitting in Athens at a bus station watching what’s happening around me as we wait on our 3 o’clock bus to Delphi.
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