Monday, March 24, 2014

That Elusive Beast Called Kindness

Dear Twenty-Something Me:

I remember you. Your impatient foot tapping. Your eye-rolling and deep sighs that showed how put out you were by folks with large carts of groceries in front of you. I know you thought your time was worth more: after all, you did have a party to get to. A nap to take, books to study, or a job. The eye roll definitely started in high school, and it just got worse: probably in preparation for this day.

Today was your Shopping Trip From Hell. Frank was screaming because that's his jam. Hattie was chasing Calvin. Calvin was pouting over something that was probably extremely important, and there you were, just trying to push the cart around aisle stockers and the after school rush. It was 45 long, and painful minutes of forgetting something on the other side of the store and having to dodge carts bigger than your own. You finally got to the front of the store to check out and then you swing the cart in line, hoping the kids stand still (quietly) for just a few more minutes. Then it happens.

A young, impatient twenty-something says, "Can I just go in front of you? I only have one thing and I am in a rush."

Your face goes blank as you imagine all the things that will go wrong in the added five minutes. Then, you imagine saying "No." and standing awkwardly in front her until you are done checking out with your crazy children orbiting around you and screaming. So you shrug, defeated, and take a deep breath to hold back any trace of tears. My, my. How the tables have turned.

Fortunately, (and unfortunately as it turns out) another lane opened and you were motioned over. Although you were flooded with relief, you couldn't help but mutter, "Or would you like to go in front of me in that lane as well?" Classy.

So, Twenty-Something Me, I am telling you this cautionary tale for two reasons:

1. In the hopes that you realize it may not seem like such a big deal to you if you ask or just cut in line, but I assure you that time is just as valuable to a mom at the end of her ropes.

2. In the hopes that the above realization will help you to gather some kindness earlier in life, so when today comes, you keep your snide comments to yourself and just breathe.


Exhausted, Thirty-Something You

1 comment:

  1. Jess, so sorry you experienced this. I had an exhausting day, too. The kids weren't responsible but it was a day when I had to surrender and have a good cry, so your post resonated with me and made me remember my life with five little ones, which wasn't that long ago but now feels like eons ago. Mine are 8 to 18 and I see them beginning to turn toward their future and life changing, yet I still want to talk to my younger self, too, and tell her it's going to be okay, and to be grateful even though it's going to be hard some days. I hope she's listening. :) Anyway, thanks for this...


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