Tuesday, January 6, 2015

To the magenta-haired woman in Walmart tonight

Hi, Magenta-haired woman. 

I saw you arrive at Walmart the same time that I did. I was getting out to pick up some tape and milk, and to get a breather away from fussy kids. (Basically, my Hunny made me go because I needed a Time Out from my own grouchiness). I don't know why you were out with your three young boys, but I heard you warn them that they had better not ask for anything while shopping. That made me smile.

I found you here and there as I wandered. Mostly I heard you. You kept telling Riley to stop touching things. And hanging off things. And climbing on things. And running around. Dear Riley was just plain getting on your nerves.

I felt bad for Riley and I wondered why you were so grouchy with this boy, who only looked about three years old. He was bound to get into mischief in the store. Plus, it was past his bedtime. (that is, it was past my girl's bedtime; she went to bed early because of her naughtiness!) 

As I wondered about how you were possibly being too harsh on children who did not know any better (they were boys, in a store, at night, bored.... But I will add that they weren't badly behaved) I also saw a refelection of myself.  Yes, before you start thinking this is a post about mothers who are verbally abusive in public, or those who 'shouldn't be mothers' or something about poor innocent children, this isn't that at all.  Dear Magenta-haired woman, you were annoyed shopping with them and you were acting rushed, and all at once I understood.

You stood in the shoe section, telling Riley not to pull all of the shoes down, while telling the older two to try something on. And I browsed the toy aisle for birthday ideas, and I remembered.  That annoyance of having to last-minute shop for a child. "What do you mean you need new shoes? We just bought you a pair two months ago. Where are....what did you do to them???" I remember having to drag children out to the store at a time when you hoped would be spend quietly and politely doing homework or pre-bedtime ritual stuff (not that it's usally quiet, but I always hope it will be). Instead, they are running around a store, touching eveything, asking for junk, laying on the floor, driving you bonkers.

And I remembered the frustration I felt today for my own three year old. Who wanted to assert her own will, her own personality, her own demands. And I just wanted her to be quiet and obedient.

Remember how I said that I was out shopping alone because I needed a Time Out?
Yeah. I get it.

So, as I found you and your boys checking out at the same as I did, I did give you more Grace. Because we all need it. And we've all been there. Some days just go on so long, and are so tiring and you are grouchy, and you are just longing for your own Quiet Time.  For those days, I give you the Solidary Pound It!  I did avoid your check out line though. But I wanted you to know that I was thinking of my own behaviour today. It was less-than-steller. 

Tomorrow I will offer more Grace. And Patience. And Kindness. We could all use it.

Especially my three year old. Maybe I'll let her bake cookies with me.


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