long . lines and ripples

Appearing with Kids in Public Places

My life in public spaces has changed since I had a child.

Hyde Park, 1958
Aerial Model, Hyde Park, Chicago, 1958
Image Credit: Eric Fischer (flickr), found in the Chicago Sun-Times Archives
Original: https://www.flickr.com/photos/walkingsf/4693687662

The difference is that I felt, I suppose, a little more invisible before I had a child. Back then, I could walk through most places (a street with retail on it, an airport, a grocery store) and not expect any reaction. People no doubt saw me, and reacted to me, in ways that were so typical that I was probably not even aware of them. Going outside was effortless, with no burden of interaction–unless I wanted to interact.

I am aware of being seen now. It is not just people seeing my son, but being seen myself, through my son. I am thinking of acts like

I wish more people could feel seen in public space if they wanted it, and I wish I could see other people more like this. I can’t say that everyone will be seen, in the same way, if they have child. There could be something about us. But it is nice to go outside with the expectation that anyone, even a stranger, might talk to you like someone who makes ordinary life a little bit happier.