To the Parents of that Child at the Grocery Store

I watched you with your child last night. You probably noticed. After all, I think every one in the check out lanes was watching you. You probably felt a ton of pressure from everyone’s glancing stares.

Several times I opened my mouth to say something. To ask how I could help or try to distract your son so that you could have a few minutes to load up your groceries to be totalled by the cashier.

But I thought that wouldn’t help.

Then I wanted to encourage you with a few words but I really felt that you’d likely not appreciate a few minutes of your time being taken when you were already so frazzled.

I’m sure you saw my face. Perhaps it looked like I was frowning. I’m guessing you’d have the feeling that many of us were looking down on you.

Its bugged me that I didn’t say anything. So I thought I’d take tonight to offer you these words.

The look on my face was one of me trying to hold back my laughter. You see, I’ve been in your shoes many, many times. And as I looked at many of the other shoppers in the area, they too were suppressing smiles. In fact I saw one old man nudge his wife and they both nodded understandingly. I know you were to busy to see it, and any time I was in your spot it made me feel like I was being judged. But last night, I really didn’t see a single person who was annoyed or angry at your son’s antics.

You see, my wild child is old enough for me now to be able to find the humour in what your son was doing. But my wild child is still young enough that I distinctly remember those moments. Now at the grocery store my child continues to be a handful but its more verbal. I now enjoy our verbal sparring and my child and I have enough shopping trips under our belt that we have fun goofing off together in the check-out lanes. I now have time to look around and see that others are amused by my wild child’s behaviour.

I really wanted to tell you how you both impressed me with your parenting. You took turns. You both remained calm. A feat worth much praise. You had 3 children with you, an infant, your wild child and his older sibling. Yet, you never spoke sharply toward any of your children, nor did you speak sharply toward each other. I saw evidence that you took preparations to make this a good shopping trip by being ready for your child’s needs.

All in all, I’m sorry I didn’t say something. I stood in the parking lot before I drove home. I seriously debated going back into the store once more to just tell you guys that you deserve a lot of praise. To let you know that I wasn’t judging you. And to give you a small hug and encourage you to keep on going. After all, one day you will likely be standing in the grocery store looking at the parents of ‘that’ child and having the same thoughts that I just had racing through my brain.

I hope you’ll have more courage than I!

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3 Responses to To the Parents of that Child at the Grocery Store

  1. Elaine says:

    Yep, been there done that.

    I often feel for parents w/kids who aren’t acting the way mom would like. I too have respect for those who don’t lose it with the kids but still have a handle on them.

  2. teresab01 says:

    Ditto what Elaine said. BTW, Elaine is always so nice, she’s one of the few who always comment on my new blogs. Thank you Elaine!

  3. I always try to make sure that I say something/at least smile at parents that are going through that sort of thing.

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