Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Excuse Me?

I was at a local mall the other day. It's a little mall with a Borders bookstore and a few other stores within walking distance from the Tae Kwon Do studio Chase uses. I was about ready to leave, doing a final browse in the Educational Warehouse before going back to feed the parking meter, when a man came into the store. He asked the store clerks if they had seen a little boy with curly blond hair. When they said no, he rushed back into the lobby area calling for the boy. I empathized with him as I recalled my own frantic search several months ago. Since there were some people helping him and my meter was expiring, I headed to the exit. That was when I heard it. A loud angry voice near the exit.

"Stupid idiot!"

I was taken aback. I knew she was talking about the man searching for the lost child.

"Stupid idiot! He should have had that child at his side the whole time! Now he's running around yelling like an idiot!"

Wow. There have been times when I have been the "stupid idiot." I remember when Marina and Chase were little and I passed a woman on the street who glared at me because I was walking with Chase in front of me and Marina behind me. She was another proponent of having children glued to the parent's side. (Hehe. Maybe I should pull out the Krazy glue.)

I wonder about these adults. They seem so sad. They scowl and point and practice armchair parenting. Do they have children? Did they suffer some terrible loss? Are they very lonely? How do I respond to such anger? I honestly thought she was the mom at first because she was so emotionally involved, loudly hurling her insults at the man. I wanted to say something, but I haven't reached the point where I know how to react in such a situation. When someone speaks with such venom my instinct is to protect myself. I tend to think about the incident. Turn it over in my mind. She was actually very cordial to me as I left. I think she was hoping I would approve of her rant.

What I would have liked to say, now that I've had time to think, is this: You are entitled to be annoyed with him and critical of his parenting, but is it so important to do that while he is upset and still looking for the child? What good does it do to call him names? If that man is a stupid idiot, so am I.

I know how easy it is to lose a child. I am thankful that mine have always been found. It is horrible to call them and not have them come to you. Years ago, I had a friend who lost her daughter in a department store. Security was called, minutes passed, she almost fainted in her fear. It turned out her daughter had slipped away under a jewelry counter close by. They are so quick, our little ones. We must look out for each other. When I see a child wandering, I try to stay near until I'm sure there is an adult with them. It is what I would want another parent to do for me.


appleleaf said...

I hope he found him! Oh boy, I can relate to that. Makes me shudder to read it.
As for that lady, I agree with your sentiments. I once saw a portly, elderly gentleman in a supermarket and was thinking he looked like a dear old chap, when he turned around and started abusing one of the staff because something in the catalogue was listed wrong. Seeing that sort of display does shock onlookers.
Wishing you & yours the best Christmas,

Muddy Mama said...

Every parents nightmare! Little ones are so quick, even when you are watching them carefully. All it takes is an instant. I hope the boy was found quickly.

By the way, you've been tagged. Stop by my site to see. I can't wait to see your answers. :)

Inner Elder said...

Believe me, we've all been there. Once I lost your brother 3 times in a half hour in Alexander's. It's just that times are scarier today. Or maybe it's just the way the Media likes to report the scary stuff. As for the name caller, it sounds like she may have had a gut reaction from some hidden memory in her own past. In other words, she was really calling herself a stupid idiot. Might not even have been aware of it. But since her reaction was so out of whack, let's give her the benefit of the doubt.

Spinneretta said...

Mine are always hiding from me. I have lost them in the store (luckily for me, only for seconds), and even in the house.
I do hope the poor man found him... it really does only take a second.

As for appropriate responses, usually they are in the 'make them think' genre... you know, like:

"Oh dear, that poor man. I do hope no-one took the child. It only takes a second..."

Make her think twice... :)

Anonymous said...

Powerful post.

I haven't ever 'lost' one but that is more due to my life having so many tragedies that I've been over protective. I have over slept on two occassions that come to mind due to sleep deprevation, but thank goodness people have always come to my rescue and were extremely understanding of my insane life.

It's simetimes hard to watch one's tongue but well worth the effort. I remember my first spouse going into rages anywhere and everywhere. It was really embarrassing. My daughter was never baptised in a church due to his raging at the church for putting the safety of their youth group before our meeting. Their van had broken down in another state.

Keeping making these posts. They help me heal my wounded soul.

You are a good person and I'm glad met you.

Anonymous said...

(too abd I can't spell)oops!

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