As much as I adore every little morsel of my sweet children, some remote area of my brain has resisted the movement into motherhood. It digs its heels in when it comes to even the most sensible transitions that a mom should make, such as carrying a mom-purse, branching out from the junior's section in stores, or making a meal of half-eaten granola bars discovered in the crevices of a car seat (just kidding-I totally do that!). When it came time to buy a new car a year and a half ago, my children commissioned for a minivan, spelling out the practicality of it. I heard them loud and clear. And then I bought a Jeep.
“A compromise car,” my friend, Melissa offered.
“Sure. A compromise car.” At the time I bought it they couldn’t even open the doors on their own let alone climb in without my hoisting them up. No my friends, this was no compromise car, but rather a selfish clinging to the freedom of my youth. I did think to pile extra blankets in the car when we took the top off, but would still catch glimpses of them through the rear view mirror looking less than pleased as the loud wind whipped their hair around while we drove, not fully sharing in their mother's joy. Good news for the kids though because apparently this part of my brain is shrinking (right there along with all the other parts) which I realized when I threw myself into full on mom mode last week.
We were Target-ing later than usual and with the days getting shorter, the sky was already darkening as we exited the store. I was tired and stretched thin, having worked all day and skipped dinner to make it to the store before bedtime. Plus, shopping with three kids-I’m not alone here or Target wouldn’t be starting to serve wine in their stores. As we transitioned from the familiar fluorescent blare of my most favorite store into the evening shade, the weight of the day was heavy on my tired shoulders. I turned toward the parking lot and was met by a group of teenage boys coming into Target who walked toward us, jeering each other and spewing filth from their mouths. Three little heads turned to stare at them in fascinated awe, not understanding, but innocently absorbing their words.
“Boys!” I snapped, my voice icy. Surprised, they stopped in their tracks, looked at me, then glanced quickly at my children. They paused, sheepish and for a single moment I saw the look of understanding. Then, they became teenagers again.
“Sorry.” They continued walking and the filthy words continued to spew from their mouths.
Now, I know this is America. I know all about the Freedom of Speech thing. But, this was Target. Which was basically like them being in my living room.
“Hey!” I called sharply. They turned back to me. I could vaguely see other shoppers pausing, although my vision was razored in on the potty-mouths heading into the store, the rest of the world being a bit of a blur.
“Enough. There are kids around. Watch your language.” For the record, I’ve never before scolded people I don’t know and I am far from one to pass judgement on people using colorful language. This admonishment came out of me without my control.
The boys claimed Tourette’s and I decidedly refrained from lecturing them about the seriousness of language disorders as my adrenaline had slowed and I was beginning to realize what I was doing. Embarrassment set in, but also a motherly feeling of wanting to and hug these boys (kind of like, air-hug them really...from a comfortable distance...because, teenagers) and fill them in on the wisdom that I’ve gained since my teenager-hood. I remember with regret being a disrespectful, smart a-- teenager myself back in the day. I wanted to let them know this about me…
Boys, I used to be just like you, (Yeah right, lady). You don’t know it now, but it gets better. Someday you won’t need this armor of defensiveness to be comfortable in your own skin but will see the importance of using your words only for building up and giving grace to those who hear.
I didn’t do anything of the sort, of course. Besides, they were already in the store and on their way to steal electronics.
We continued on to our car.
“That’s cool.” Aiden said, riding along in the buggy of the cart and trying out some tough guy language of his own. Ella’s eye shifted nervously to me, clearly wondering if I would turn my wrath to them next.
“Aiden. That was not cool!” She watched me to make sure I understood that they did not share the same opinion on this. Her eyes looked for my reaction as she spoke, “Those boys were being naughty!”
“No. I mean Mom. Mom’s cool.” And together, they began to create a (totally uncool) chant about their mom yelling at naughty boys. I smiled to myself at the irony. Just you wait, little ones. You haven’t seen anything yet.
|Sometimes we eat Panera- in the parking lot of Target- with the top off- and I wonder if life could get any sweeter.|