So, today was the weirdest day in a while. It was only the second day that the kids and I have felt up to doing anything following the cold we picked up at CMAFest. We headed out this morning about 11am to run some errands. It was exhausting. The kids would rather be at the pool. I’m worried I’m picking up the wrong water for the hub’s bus. Let me tell you a little story about the end of our Costco visit …
There we are, sitting in the food court at Costco. I broke down and let the kids have lunch there since it was, well, lunchtime. We sit and eat. And then I hear, “Well, it isn’t that hard. Just type whatever you need to say right here. You won’t even need to use it. You’ll be fine.” I look to my left to see a mother and her 2 boys (maybe 8 and 4?). She is telling the kids that she is going to do the shopping while they sit there and eat. The oldest is whining “I’m scared, don’t go.” She is getting mad at him. “Mommy, just don’t go. I’m scared!” She gets more upset. She tells him he is worried over nothing. She then follows with quickie instructions on the universal sign for choking, etc. Way to reassure him, Mom! She takes off.
I decided I would sit there and watch over these kids until their mom got back. How scary! The door isn’t far away. Realistically, someone could just come in, grab them, and leave in moments. I won’t let that happen. My kids are even appalled. My 11yo is telling me how not safe it is that this mom has left these kids here. I thought and thought and thought. What could I say to her when she comes back? What can I possibly say that won’t sound judgey? Because honestly – I’m judging. I can’t believe she got mad at the kids for [rightfully] being scared to be left alone in a busy store.
Then, I realize something. Maybe she was just having a bad day. Maybe this isn’t usually how she parents. Maybe something really horrible is going on in her life, and she really just couldn’t wait for these boys to finish their lunch. I decided that she didn’t need any judgement. She needed some grace. And so, when she came back, I got up and left. And said a silent prayer for her and those boys.
What would you have done?