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The Power of “I See You”

by | Jan 11, 2017 | Children, Family, Parenting | 0 comments

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peek a boo, i see you, peek-a-boo

“Who is she talking to?” my older daughter says looking at the baby inquisitively. Our big silver SUV is bumping along crowded gray streets with cars lined up like dominoes. Lights flash yellow to red, horns honk. It’s rush hour. I look back. The baby holds her chubby fingers to her eyes, a strawberry-blond curl falling over her tiny fingernails. Then, at once, she pulls them away, revealing a bright smile. “Peek-a-boo!” “Peek-a, Peek-a!”, she says, her toddler gibberish muted by the closed glass of the car window.

I look over to the SUV, waiting at the light next to us. A mom with a blonde bob, tired eyes, and a cheerful face looks back at us. Her teenage daughter sits next to her in the passenger seat. They are both leaned towards our car. The mother waves, and the daughter clamps her hands over her eyes, springing them away with enthusiasm. Seconds later, she mouths the words, “Peek-a-boo!” through closed glass.

The light turns green, cars rumble forward, and disappear into the distance. “Buh Bye!” my baby daughter waves. She smiles and flaps her hands at the glass. “Buh Bye! Buh Bye!” she says with a passion usually reserved by adults for only the closest of friends.

*****

The cart goes bump, bump, bump as we roll haphazardly through the superstore. Something indistinguishable is stuck to the wheel causing the basket to veer uncontrollably left to right. We are deep into the second hour of a never-ending trip to buy groceries and school supplies as well as needed items for our office. I squint my tired eyes to look down crowded aisles lit by harshly bright neon lighting. We take a sharp turn towards the meat section where refrigerated cases line the wall.

As I stand staring at the shelf in front of us, pondering the difference between organic and cage-free natural eggs, I see an elderly woman waving. She is hunched over from the strain of walking many steps through never-ending aisles. Her steel gray hair and kind eyes are reminiscent of my grandmother’s. Upon seeing us they light up with sudden recognition. My grandmother passed when I was in college. I rack my brain. Do I know this woman?

I proceed through this mental exercise, to no avail. As I am doing this, I see her cover her face, then peel back her hands and smile. I look at my baby daughter. She beams; “Peak-a! Peak-a! Booooo!” she says. The lady smiles back at her with delight, and approaches with a bounce in her step.

My baby daughter reaches her arms out to the woman like she is asking for a hug. The woman grabs her tiny outstretched hands with her own hands that shake a little as she says, “Hello, sweet angel.” She continues, “I have great-grandchildren your age, but they don’t live around here.” She tells us briefly about her children, grandkids, and great-grandkids. “What a beautiful family! God bless you.” she says, releasing the baby’s hands and walking back to her cart. Baby waves and reaches out her hands to the woman like she is saying goodbye to a long-lost relative. The woman’s face lights up as she waves back.

We have this experience frequently these days. Strangers look back at us from adjoining restaurant booths or break the silence of the doctor’s office waiting room with a wave and a peek-a-boo. Often they are parents with much older children, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers. But sometimes they are awkward teenagers or kids sitting alone with sadness in their eyes.

People shuffle all around them running errands, trying to get one more thing done. We are so used to hurrying from one place to another with our eyes glued to the path in front of us, not interacting. I would probably pass by without noticing too, but these days if I do, I hear a tiny voice say, “peek-a-boo”.

It seems like such a simple gesture. She doesn’t have the language at 17 months to say much more. But I swear people see her tiny smiling face and bright eyes and remember the popular refrain, “I see you.”

Experiencing each interaction makes me realize the gravity of my job as a parent. She takes all the love that I pour into her as her mother and sends it out into the world, multiplying it. Not knowing yet to fear rejection or the vulnerability that kindness exposes her to, she just smiles at each person that passes by, and if they smile back, she engages them in a game.

As a mother and teacher, I wonder what problems could be solved if we all looked around for the lonely, the forgotten, and the isolated and somehow said, “I see you” instead of hurrying by in a rush to check one more item off our list.

As adults we often think of kindness as a gesture we must plan out or orchestrate based on particular circumstances. But I have come to realize through the bright smile and innocent actions of a 1-year-old that many times the opportunity for kindness is easy and right in front of us.

Sometimes it is as simple as saying, “hi” to another person in a crowded store or through a shiny car window. Recognizing the humanity in another is a simple kindness that forms the basis for all others. It can be a spark that brightens even the darkest day.

 

-Nina Parrish, M.Ed.
Owner | Parrish Learning Zone, LLC

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                                       ~Nina

Nina Parrish, M. Ed.

Nina Parrish, M. Ed.

Co-Owner and Director of Education

Proud mom of two adorable girls. Teacher who has developed an education business that started at a kitchen table and has grown into a thriving small business... Click here to Learn more about Nina.

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Ms Brown was wonderful with tutoring my child in Algebra ll.
Pam Cantrell Burton
Pam Cantrell Burton
2020-10-14T16:15:51+0000
Parrish Learning Zone helped my daughter with on-line SAT and college essay preparation. She not only scored in the top 90 percentile on the SAT after working with Lauren Cannavo, she especially benefited from the tutoring she received for her admission essays. My daughter was accepted at Notre Dame, UVA, William and Mary, and received scholarships to George Washington University and the University of Alabama. She was initially deferred at the University of Chicago and waitlisted at University of Michigan and Emory University. She eventually chose not to remain on the waitlists and committed to UVA.Lauren also advised our daughter regarding her submission of a 20 page essay on community service for DECA, a high school business club. Our daughter, along with her partner, won second place in her category at the DECA state competitions in 2019 and 2020, and received second place at the DECA international competition in 2019.Lauren was not only a top-notch professional, she really cared about our daughter and was so pleased about her accomplishments. We are so very grateful to her and Parrish Learning Zone.
Marijayne Kruus
Marijayne Kruus
2020-05-11T21:51:37+0000
My daughter has a math learning disability and hated math. We started working with Nina Parrish and stuck with it for several months. Her grades have improved, but more importantly, so has her self confidence. She now loves going to work on math and will even work on it at home by herself. We are grateful for Parrish Learning Zone!
Laura Ellis
Laura Ellis
2018-12-14T14:36:43+0000
Mr. Chaves is an extremely gifted chemistry teacher. It's such a difficult subject--my son was drowning by the time we found PLZ. This was truly a last ditch effort on our part. Mr. Chaves was able to turn that ship around after only 4 lessons and my son passed the SOL! He was able to distill difficult concepts in a way that made them comprehensible and he was patient and kind and gave my son the confidence to succeed. His actual eacher expressed surprise and made a point of telling him he didn't know how he did it but he was impressed. It takes a gifted teacher to get results like that.I only wish we'd found PLZ and Mr. Chaves in the beginning of the school year.
Wendy Zelazny
Wendy Zelazny
2018-06-08T02:05:15+0000
Highly Recommend
Anne Kater Reeves
Anne Kater Reeves
2018-06-07T22:46:05+0000
I highly recommend Parrish Learning Zone. My daughter was able to achieve the SAT score she was aiming for with the help of her Math (Mr. James Slane) and English (Mrs. Lauren Cannavo) tutors. Not only did they help her with practice tests but they also boosted her confidence in taking the SAT. The owners (Nina and Jay) were always prompt in answering my emails. They are very accommodating and worked around my daughter’s schedule (thank you Shiela for all your help in finding available dates for my daughter to meet with her tutors). Thank you Parrish Learning Zone for helping my daughter achieve her goal!
Beth Yankovich
Beth Yankovich
2018-03-23T20:29:18+0000
I can't say enough good things about Parrish Learning Zone. My son has historically suffered from low reading comprehension. I felt he needed a little extra help so I contacted Parrish Learning Zone. The owners at Parrish matched my son with the perfect tutor for him, they developed a rapport almost immediately. He is now in 8th grade and doing well in all his classes. My son is very active in school sports and the staff at Parrish are always very accommodating. They always reschedule with no problems. My son even likes to go early to chat with Sheila.
Beth Kent
Beth Kent
2017-11-08T18:59:11+0000
Awesome! Very structured and student focused - they identified the areas of weakness and turned those into areas of strength in a very short amount of time. I loved the communication from the tutor and the company. I received a specific report of my child's tutoring session including improvements and areas that needed continued work. I received reminders of upcoming tutor sessions - which I needed!! I felt the individual attention and service was worth every penny AND found the prices to be much more reasonable that other tutors in the area. I would HIGHLY recommend Parrish Learning Zone to any parent that needs to find highly competent tutoring help for their child. Parrish is simply the best!
Michele Hiltbrunner Freemyers
Michele Hiltbrunner Freemyers
2017-03-14T15:53:50+0000
An excellent place to take your kids for any tutoring needs! PLZ is a very personalized and hands on service! Both of my teenage boys have been through here for various reasons and I know we will continue to make use of them!
Tammy Elms Mosco
Tammy Elms Mosco
2016-06-02T12:20:59+0000
SAT Prep Course with Parish Learning is definitely a worthwhile invest !!...My son's scores improved over 200 plus points!!
Janice Boles
Janice Boles
2014-12-02T22:34:32+0000
I am extremely thankful to Parrish Learning Zone. I have a son that is a freshman in college majoring in mechanical engineering. I am so glad that we found out about the Parrish Learning Zone because they were very caring and really worked hard around my sons high school football schedule to ensure that he received all of the needed instruction in order to do well on the SAT testing. It was a great investment for his future. I believe this experience prepared my son for the transition to college life. He was able to attend a top engineering college and to play football there. My daughter is a senior in high school now and was admitted into two of the top ranked public schools in Virginia. She will be a freshman at one of these schools next year. She also was enrolled in the Parrish Learning Zone for preparation for the SAT. I am again thankful to the Parrish Learning Zone and feel that this was a great long term investment into their futures. I would strongly recommend the Parrish Learning Zone to anyone looking for an environment that offers a caring and knowledgeable approach to educating students. They are the best.
Angela Jackson
Angela Jackson
2014-05-15T00:39:39+0000
Andrew Powers
Andrew Powers
2014-02-09T12:32:29+0000

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