We've been in New York and New Jersey visiting Family Humans and Family Dogs for the last week-plus, but not so many Family Computers. We're back now.
The flight from Burbank to JFK is never a trip to which I eagerly look forward, but it is a great opportunity for people-watching. We took our seats and watched a man and his three little children, all under age of five, board the plane. He asked them which toys they wanted for the flight, took them out, and then collected all their little coats and backpacks and stowed them in the overhead compartment. He spend the five-hour flight getting snacks and drinks for his kids, taking one or another to the bathroom, getting them a book or a toy they requested. On the rare occasions when he took a seat, he would look at them from across the aisle and smile. The children were very well-behaved for their ages, but by the time we reached New York, they were beginning to decompensate. As the plane arrived at the gate, one of them needed the bathroom. As her father led her up the aisle through the standing passengers (all of whom were very obliging), the other two started crying. They all went back to the bathroom together. Upon returning to their seats, the eldest, about age five, prevented her younger brother from crawling over her to look out the window, and both started to cry. The father, in a very soft voice, said to her, "That's not sharing. Let your brother look out". She obliged, and with no further fuss, the father began the task of handing out their little coats and backpacks.
We saw them again in the terminal, heading to baggage claim and this time it was the third who was crying her head off. The Other Family Human approached the father. "Do you need any help?" she asked, "I think you're fabulous". "No, I'm fine," he replied, "they're usually really easy, but it's been a long trip".
Well, no wonder they are usually really easy, with that sort of parenting. When we were telling the Next Generation Family Humans about them, it was suggested that we should all carry around some sort of award certificate to give to people we run across in life who we think are something special. If we had had one with us, this man would certainly have gotten one.