Dear Lady in the Friday’s Vestibule,
Every once and awhile, I see someone out of the corner of my eye whom I feel compelled to wait for by the door. Not because I rate them as a definite thank you for my doorman services, but because they look like one of those women in the underground society of Mothers Who Get It. Someone who could be my mom. A gentle soul who senses the struggle and reaches out with a hand, or a smile, or a nod. Words aren’t necessary. It’s the eye contact that speaks, “It’s okay. I know what you’re doing is hard. I’ve been there. You’re doing fine. Just keep on.”
But instead you took your time walking to the door, eyed my punchy children jumping all over the place, and said to your friend, “Don’t she got coats for those babies? Where they coats?”
Where? WHERE? WHERE THEY COATS? Do you really want to know? Let me tell you all about they coats.
Two days ago there was a blizzard. It hit a few sections of Jersey, my parents’ house being one of them. This is what it looked like the day before we were supposed to head home:
That morning I spent several hours packing up all of our things while my husband and father dug out our car. And then they dug out the street so we could pack the car. We put the girls’ coats in the trunk since we’d be driving 3.5 hours to get home – without stopping – and the car was already warm. We were on the road for all of 5 minutes when we found out about the first road closing. And then the highway. And then the parkway. It took us three hours to drive what would normally take 15 minutes.
The first rest stop we reached, 4 hours later, was disgusting. We bundled them up, carried them through brown, slushy snow just to find out that the “restaurants” inside were not staffed due to the weather. Apparently the bathrooms weren’t either. But they had to go. The paper mosaics I created on the toilet seats, while impressive to look at, didn’t hold up against the tantrum my 3YO had when she smelled the humid stalls. YOU try containing a tantrum’s pee.
2 hours later the traffic finally started to move and we were approaching the Turnpike, so we decided to see if we could find a restaurant in a town before we hit the land of Only Rest Stops. After two wrong turns, thirty minutes of whining and crying about desperate hunger pains and having to go to the bathroom, we happened upon this here Fridays, where we got a parking spot right in front of the door. Rather than shift everything around in the trunk to dig for their coats again, we each grabbed a kid and ran inside.
I’m glad you had your kids and I’m glad you raised them right. And I’m thrilled that you never let your babies out in the snow without jackets. What a relief. And I’m happy that you and your friend were nice and toasty in your faux fur and could start your Escalade via remote from the vestibule while I held the door open for you.
And I’m glad you felt free to say whatever you wanted to in front of my kids. Because I couldn’t. I couldn’t congratulate you on making a harried mom feel even worse in < :30. I couldn’t comment on your superior glances at each other, or on the way you drove next to our car through the next two lights, still laughing. Probably not at me, but that’s how it felt. No, I was stuck in my silence because my kids were listening. Just like they were listening to the girl at Starbucks, “Mama? What does ‘hump-and-dump’ their boyfriend mean?” And just like they were listening to you.
“Don’t worry, Mama,” whispered ONE. “I like not wearing a coat.”
But you know what? You still made me happy this week. Because you ain’t my mama. You DON’T get it. And I’ll never see you again.
What makes you
!!! = Intentional Happiness
©2011 CEK. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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