Here in the summery stretch after Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, I find myself wondering why we don’t have a Children’s Day, one unofficial holiday that formalizes our appreciation for the non-adults among us. Maybe the card and gift companies just haven’t thought of that yet. Maybe most parents are still emotionally and financially depleted from the materialistic orgy that used to be known as Christmas. Or maybe we feel we already spend enough of our waking hours acknowledging our children: driving them to ballet class or hockey practice, regulating their use of a baffling array of electronic devices, guarding them against insult, illness, and failure, or simply earning enough money to feed and clothe them.
On most days, you don’t have to look very hard to find examples of parental affection. In a café last month, killing time before picking up one of my daughters from school, I watched a new mother carrying her small son around the room. He was a restless little guy, inquisitive and energetic, and you could see, in the way the woman held and looked at him, the very essence of love. On the soccer sidelines, most mothers and fathers are encouraging and proud, having taken time away from household chores, golf, work, or recreational shopping to stand there and watch their kids burn through the unrenewable energy source we call youth.