An Unexpected Plea

Last week, I took the little ones to a small park in a neighboring town.

Next to the playground there is a well-maintained and fenced tennis court.


Take some sort of ball or cars and tennis courts somehow transform into magical play areas for children.  

While running around the courts, I glanced at the hard surface and noticed some writing. A small white rock was lying off to the side.

I examined the temporary "sidewalk graffiti" more closely; fully expecting to read an inscription from "Edgar" proclaiming his undying love for "Stephanie," a negative description of the area's school lunch program, or some other silly kid-type message.

Instead, I read this:

We miss you and we love you dad.
Please come home again.

Instantly, my mind filled with questions: 
  • Did this father leave the family after a dispute?
  • Is he away while serving in the armed forces?
  • Is he in prison?
  • Did "dad" die and this is simply a child wrestling with grief?
  • Does "we" refer to the child and mother or was there more than one child present when the message was composed?
Well, needless to say, I'll never learn the answers to my questions. 

For me, the image of a hurting child or children, uncomfortable in speaking to a loved one or friend about their feelings, while sitting on the tennis court composing such a sad message was powerful.

The experience did reiterate to me how much children (even young ones) internalize, and of the heartbreaking burdens that are carried by some--robbing them of what should be a fun and carefree experience at the park.

My prayers are with that lonely little boy or girl.

--------------------------------------------

The photo is not of the park we visited, but was used from here.

48 comments:

Momma Fargo said...

Things like that make you think..and ponder...all the time. Weird how we try to link something to the unknowns.

Matthew Rush said...

That is very sad but also kind of sweet. So many possibilities could be involved in that scenario, let's hope it's something positive.

Eternally Distracted said...

That is very sad... I only hope that the 'child' wrote it somewhere where his/her Dad may see it... and there is a happy ending.

Elena said...

That was sad. I bet you hugged your kids extra tight that night.

Jayne said...

Heartbreaking.

My Husband's Watching TV... said...

That is sad...I wonder if dad was a big tennis player so they thought he might see the note there. Whenever those sort of things happen to me, I always wonder for a few days about it...

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Oh, that is sad. :(

Krista said...

Oh wow. That just reaches in and gives the heart a squeeze doesn't it. I hope that those kids get what they need - lots of hugs and love and attention and more hugs.

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
You are so right. I think children feel far more than they often let on.

I hope those who seek consolation will get it.

Ann T.

Herding Cats said...

Kids have a difficult time dealing with grief. But at least this child put it out there in some form. Perhaps it was a way of letting go, or theraputic? It is sad, but hopefully that child can find some peace.

suzicate said...

That is so sad, and you will probably never have those answers. Thanks for praying for them. Sometimes that all we can offer is prayer...and it can make a difference.

Tara said...

So sad :(

gladwellmusau said...

Thank you for this post. I can only imagine the pain and confusion in the mind of a child. And like you, as I have a small daughter of my own, I will lift that little person in prayer. And for many more in our midst in dysfunctional families.

Blessings your way!

Gladwell

Audrey Allure said...

Aw, my heart goes out to them too.

carma said...

Now that is simply heartbreaking...

Suzanne said...

I assume the worst, but hope for the best in that situation. Still heart breaking.

Janna Qualman said...

SD, thank you for sharing that moment, and the note. I feel stuff like that so deeply--and rather love it, because it reminds me of life, of hurt, of the gamut of emotions and all that comes from it, good and bad.

Luisa Doraz said...

I would have been thinking all kinds of things also. I hope whatever it was, he does come home soon. :) Have a safe week.

Lisa @ fulfilling my purpose said...

So sad. There are so many hurting people out there needing the comfort of a Savior.

Bob G. said...

Slamdunk:
Yeah, something like that would get ME thinking a lot, too.
I echo the sentiments of the commenters.

Kimi said...

How evoking and powerful the message. I take pity on youth who do not have the luxury of both mom and dad present in the home to care, to love and to support them at all times in their developmental stages. Makes me appreciate my parents more. Thanks for sharing.

Nikole Hahn said...

Oh man...Very powerful. I wonder what the story was...

Sister Copinherhair said...

Or...the "child" could have been someone just like you. Watching their children play. Remembering a time when their father watched them play. And decided to write it down, right then and there. Because we all know how much it helps to write down our thoughts, don't we?

Slamdunk said...

Thanks all for the comments.

@ Momma Fargo: I think too much.

@ MyHusbands... and Sistercopinherhair: I did not consider either of those possibilities--thanks for the additional scenarios.

jodeeluna said...

Your post brought an incident back to mind that happened last year in my classroom. An unknown student wrote his or her desparate pleas all over one of the pages in a reading book. The message was so sad and I tried to figure out who it was to no avail. Just like in the situation you shared, we will never know but can pray. Thanks for the story.

A Doc 2 Be said...

Almost reminds me of that song about a dad waiting for his daughter to come home and leaves her a message on his answering machine... she finally calls, listens and says, "Dad, I'm coming home."

Every time I hear that song, dust gets in my eye.

Lipstick said...

Oh my gosh...that would haunt me too.

Holly said...

My heart sank. How sad.

Javajune said...

Oh, so sad. Things like this stick with you, haunting and intriguing. I hope whoever this child is he/ she is loved. Your kids are lucky to have a Dad that takes the time to play with them.
xo-jj

Erin said...

That's tough. I'm glad somebody noticed their message, though, and cared about them.

Entre Nous said...

Cool blog, I'll be back.

T. Anne said...

What a hauntingly sad message.

Elana Johnson said...

Wow, it's the little things in life we forget about sometimes. My heart aches for messages like that.

LadyFi said...

A sad and touching plea.

JennyMac said...

that little note made me sad. I hope it turns out well.

Writing Without Periods! said...

Wow, I'd wonder too. It's so sad when children are missing a parent.
Mary

Rachel said...

Perhaps you saw that to write it here for us to pray. Thanks for sharing.

Rachel

WomanHonorThyself said...

aw that is touching Slam..kind of puts things in perspective..thank u:)

theycallmejane said...

So sad! Like you, I'd be wondering, too - and creating all sorts of scenarios. Let's hope the story behind it has a happy ending.

Sultana said...

that is really sad. :(

Luisa Doraz said...

KINDNESS CARD TO PASS AROUND TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS*

http://dorazsays.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/kindness-card-to-pass-aroung-to-all-your-friends/#comment-17766

Thanks...
Doraz
:)

Confessions of a Mother, Lawyer & Crazy Woman said...

Oh! That broke my heart. Welling up while reading this and thinking of that child.

herworldcaptured said...

wow. how curious... i love things like that. my prayers are with the child or whoever wrote that tonight.

i want to write a short story based on this

Pia said...

it's so sad to realize how a child is hurting or anybody for that matter. i hope that whoever wrote that note is in a happier place now... maybe with his or her dad. i wish for the "we" to have a happy ending.

Police Girl said...

aww...doesn't that just break your heart..?

Selma said...

Heartbreaking. I can't imagine the grief that poor child must have experienced. I also hope there was a happy ending.

terri said...

What a heartbreaking message. Really makes you stop and think.

Big Mama Cass said...

That is heartbreaking! WOW!! :(