Just Ask Me!

I’m in the middle of moving.  I have important things to do.  Like sleeping for instance, so I can go full steam all day tomorrow.

Today I got nothing done toward the moving goal because on Mondays I am a taxi mom.  Pick up older daughter from college, take younger daughter to ballet, then younger son to the mall next to the dance studio so he can play at the “play place”.

I finally get to simply sit, joining all the other adults on the seating benches that surround and face the play area.  We all have our noses buried in our phones.  I pull up a book I’ve been reading on my Blackberry about building bridges in the community around us, connecting people, while doing my best to not connect to anyone.

Next to me is an older man, without a phone.  He is actually watching a child play, and momentarily a presumed wife approaches and asks if he is doing okay.  She said she was keeping an eye on them from afar.  He said he was fine.

Yes, I was eavesdropping, but that is beside the point.

I attempt to connect at least with my child, and look when he says, “Watch mommy!!” and smile when he shows his new stunts jumping and falling down the slide instead of doing it the normal way.  Yes.  He is most definitely my progeny.

In a few minutes, after several interruptions in my coveted reading time, I sense a chill in the air.  No… I hear one.  “Did you see any OTHER children jumping on the benches??!”  I turn my head and the tall, gaunt, grey-haired lady was back.  “I do NOT think you are supposed to allow your child to jump on the seats!”  She walks from behind us to the entrance, and past me, to stand in front of her husband.  She calls the child who is briskly re-socked and shoed.  I did not pay attention to anything else (trying my best to read this book!) until about the third time she said, “Excuse me…. Maam!”  I realize, she is talking to me.  I look up.

“Yes?”  I query.

“Can I ask you something?”

“Sure!”

“We are having a bit of a disagreement here.  Is it okay or not for the children to jump up and down on the benches?”

Thinking… I don’t remember hearing this sweet man utter anything in his defense. Yes, I could tell he was a kind soul just by watching him watch his grandson.  Remembering… Last week, different mall, different play place.  I had rebuked my own young son for jumping up and down on the seating benches even though, no one was anywhere near him.  No, it just wasn’t proper.

“Well, I suppose it’s fine.  I mean, they are obviously made very soft and durable, so as long as they are not close enough to hurt anyone, I suppose it’s fine.”

Grandpa steals a steel glance.

“Well, I just didn’t know if it was proper or not.  I mean, we certainly don’t allow that at home!!”

“Oh no, neither do we!  Not on my sofa.  That’s not made so well.”

“Okay.. well then.  I just wasn’t sure what people do these days.”

“Well, these days it’s really hard to tell.  You just never know, do you?”

Lying as an act of compassion?  Is that wrong?  I can live with the lie.  I don’t think I could have lived with giving that woman a reason to lecture that poor man all the way home, and then recount the offense to the boy’s mother, the neighbor, and the lady at church.

Maybe not the wisdom of Solomon, but I am always happy to share my opinion.  I must look like someone who knows.  Just ask me!

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2 thoughts on “Just Ask Me!

  1. How well I remember the days! My four were young, and all involved in activities from one end of traffic-filled Dallas to the other. Sometimes trying to sneak in a little grocery shopping before one activity was over and another beginning. Talking continually to children and trying to get a quiet break to refresh, inspire, and recreate (New Yorkers are expert at this in their many little parks scattered throughout the city). Trying not to think of how much neglected work was waiting at home. Reading a book on “connecting” while trying to escape non-stop talk. And on one of these days, a grey-haired lady seeing me with some of my four and saying, “Honey, don’t forget. These are the happiest days of your life.”

    And now, I am one of those grey-haired ladies. My kids are grown and the most wonderful, amazing, interesting soul-mates I could have ever hoped for! The quiet times are frequent and relished. The books waited for me, and I love them all. The best is still ahead, young mothers!! Beware of well-meaning little-old ladies!!!

    • When that lady said that to me, something akin to hysteria went off inside me. If that was the best…. Thank goodness it wasn’t. Ha!

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