Monday, December 16, 2013

#42 - 46 Random Posts to Celebrate 46 Years of Living

I admit it - I am guilty. I know I shouldn't. And honestly I try very hard not too, but it has been a life-long habit that is difficult to break. I am talking about judging people, of course. It is so instinctual that sometimes I don't even realize it has happened until I have walked away and the thought hits my head that I assumed something that I really have no idea of the truth of because of the way a person acted, was dressed or the color of the their skin or how they sounded when they talked. Now - because I feel like I need to put a positive spin on this not so good habit I want to say that not ALL of my judgments are negative. Sometimes it leads me to assume something about a person that could (in my mind, at least) be a very good thing. That's not so bad, right? ....Right?
The truth is, though, that when we judge others without really taking the time to get to know their story - we are making assumptions based on ignorance. And it is a very bad practice. For instance...take the women wearing not so clean sweats with unwashed hair who screamed at her kid in the grocery store because her little girl kept putting items in the cart when the mom wasn't looking. No child deserves to have that kind of anger shouted at them. It would be easy to say that lady is a bad mom who does not deserve children. They should regulate who can and can't have kids because some people clearly are not meant for parenting. I have been guilty of thinking the worst of such parents...until the woman in the grocery store was ME and the little girl pushing me to my final straw was my darling first-born. Yep. Definitely not my proudest Mom moment. I had stayed home sick that day and was still not feeling well. After picking up my daughter up from preschool I remembered we had almost nothing to fix for dinner. I just wanted to get what we needed for dinner and get home as quickly as possible. I had already asked my daughter several times to stop doing what she was doing. If you are a parent then you have been there. I would give anything to say that I had handled that (and many other situations) with my children with more patience and grace and forgiveness. That day I was immediately humiliated by my outburst when I glanced over and saw another lady glaring at me. She then shook her head and pushed her cart away from me as quickly as she could. 
Tears welled up in my eyes at the shame I felt. Then I heard a kind voice behind me, "It's okay, Sweetie, we all have those days. You'll get through this one." I looked back and an older grandmotherly woman was smiling at me. My tears almost burst loose at her kind words. She then smiled at my daughter and told her, "You be good to your mommy now, you hear?" She took the latest canned item that my little darling had grabbed off the shelf, put it back for her, and walked off. I never saw her again. But she left a lasting impact on me. In my mind she glows a little bit like a guardian angel - and who's to say she wasn't a divine messenger? 

That moment stands out in my mind because I knew that I had a choice to make. Was I going to follow in the path of the woman who made a point of making sure that I saw her disapproving look before she walked away? Or was I going to embrace the example set by the dear lady who chose not to judge me harshly and offered me a kind word when I most desperately need to hear it? I pray every day that I will choose to follow her example. She didn't know a thing about me - except that I had just treated my child very badly in a grocery store. Her decision to be nice to me allowed me the grace to take a deep breath, push down my lingering queasiness, set aside my anxiety and frustration of the day, hug my little girl, and take the 2nd chance I desperately needed to be the good mom that I really am. 

Just as a last note - my "little darling" is now 22-years-old. I consider that fact that she still talks to me on a regular basis a good sign that she has forgiven me for that...and many other not so proud mommy moments. Thank God! (And thank you, Cody, I love you forever!!)
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