So let me tell you about the shittiest parent on the motherfucking planet.
I work at a grocery store and this man comes in with his 11 year old son. He buys a pack a cigarettes and a two cases of beer. The son was holding a two dollar drawing pad and placed it on the belt and I guess the dad didn’t notice it at first but when I was about to scan the pad he asked where’d it have come from and turned towards the kid and asked “Did you put that shit up there?”. He told me to put it back and then told his 11 year old child that he “ain’t paying for that gay ass notebook.”. So I looked at the kid, who was close to tears and saying how he ran out of paper at home and my heart broke. So I gave the pad to him, for free, and told the dad I would take care of it. I gave the kid some tokens for a game outside and said I would look forward to buying some of his drawings and paintings when he’s all famous. He kids face was so priceless and I thought everything was good. But then, about 10 ten minutes after giving the kid his notebook, I walked outside and saw this. The drawing pad all ripped up and tossed on the pavement. I could only imagine what happened in the parking lot, but I know that that poor kid heart is fucking ripped apart, just like this pad.
I’m fucking horrified that there are parents like this, who, just because it’s not masculine or gender specificthey won’t let their children follow their true passions or explore interests that lead to their happiness. Even more so, I’m horrified that parents don’t care about the fine arts anymore because it doesn’t have job security. Since when did it ever matter to a child if their passion makes them money or not? Parenting is about supporting whatever makes your child happy. Have some fucking consideration for your child’s wants not your homophobic and anti-art ideals.
a-game-of-romance-and-winchester, thank you. You made a huge difference to this kid, I swear. You gave them something huge and important. I’m obviously so much luckier in my parents than this kid is that it feels wrong to even think this post is even slightly about me, but I can promise you, you made a difference.
When I was in the fourth grade, we got a writing assignment - one of those generic, bland, “talk about a kid with a toy” assignments you get when you’re that age. I, being a weird kid who had recently read Anastasia Krupnik, decided to go for a free verse piece about a kid running off on his bike to escape his parents’ fighting about divorce.
I was nervous handing it in, because Anastasia got an F on her free verse poem, and all the other kids were writing ABCB rhymes about Christmas presents. But my teacher tacked it up on the wall immediately. “This is really, really good,” she said.
I wasn’t comfortable with praise. Besides, I was a smart kid, all my work was at least average. “Thanks, sure, if you really think so, I guess,” I said, and thought no more of it until two weeks later: Parents’ Night. My teacher raved about the poem for ten minutes straight.
My parents were mortified - their words, not mine. Mom wouldn’t stop apologising.
I was in so much trouble that night. I didn’t tell them anything, they looked like idiots who knew nothing about my life, it was so humiliating, do all the kids in your class think we’re getting divorced? your teacher’s clearly worried about you, she’s friends with Gabrielle’s parents so now they’ll think we’re on the rocks too, I don’t know where you get this stuff from, where did you get it, why would you even think of that, you’ve got to go tell your teacher that this isn’t anything to do with real life, where do you get this stuff, what’ve you been reading? You’ve really upset us. We’re so embarrassed and hurt and humiliated. So ashamed.
Fast-forward two weeks. My mom had almost stopped telling me how bad I’d made her feel. All the kids were filing out of the assembly hall after hearing a local author read from his new book.
My teacher pulled me aside. “Someone wants to talk to you. He read your poem, he really likes it, and he wants to see you.”
It was The Author.
I’ve never been more nervous. “Your poem’s really good,” he said.
I squeaked. He had to know, I had to tell him, to make it clear - “My parents aren’t getting divorced, they’re really happy together, I made it all up, really I did!”
"It’s really good. It’s complex, it’s really grown-up and mature. You should keep writing."
"Um," I said. I tried to be really grown-up and mature. “Wow. Thank you.”
I never told my parents; like I said, I was a smart kid. I replayed the memory before I went to sleep every night for at least a month. I replayed it every time my mom reminded me how much I’d hurt her by writing. I hid it somewhere under my ribcage, like hot soup on a day so cold you can’t feel your fingers.
OP, that kid’s got a fucking shitty father and he’s got a tough road to walk. I hope he’s surviving. I hope he finds paper. I hope his secret stash of drawings never get found. I hope he gets out.
But now he’s got one memory of a few minutes with someone who believed in him, believes he can make it, that his dreams and his voice are worth something, was willing to put their money where their mouth was. He’s gonna see that two-dollar pad over and over again in countless grocery stores, and he’s going to know better than to ask his father for another one, maybe he won’t get any paper of his own for years, but I think he’s also going to remember that someone thinks he deserves it.
Whatever happened to that pad in the parking lot, you gave that kid something his father can never rip up. Thank you.