Let’s all take a moment to reflect on the way in which the holidays can subconsciously impose a certain high level of stress on the otherwise normally patient, courteous person…like myself, for example.
Let’s also acknowledge the way that children under the age of…anything, basically…in a supermarket during the holidays can significantly add to that stress level.
Again, let’s use me as our case study…and, my behavior in that very scenario this afternoon thanks to the kids having no school at the farm today since it was turkey pick-up day.
I will go ahead and take the blame for bringing them there during the dangerous window of time when Harley Love may or may not need to take a nap. She is super inconsistent with napping and I normally wouldn’t even attempt something like this, but I had to stock up for Thanksgiving cooking and was desperate. So, I went for it.
The very moment we stepped up to the outside of Trader Joe’s, the two of them insist on sitting in the big part of the cart. Not only do I know this is a terrible idea because their bodies will be in contact with one another and that’s just a recipe for a complete brawl, but it’s illegal as far as grocery store carts go with small children. Again, I’m desperate, so I just let it happen.
So, those two are sitting in the already smaller than an average grocery store cart that Trader Joe’s offers it’s customers and I’m just piling our items on top of them. They’re, basically, getting smothered with a blanket of grocery store items. But, I’m getting what I need, making my way through the store as efficiently as I possibly can, and very consciously being more patient and calm than I have ever been in my entire life because I know I’m walking around with a ticking bomb that could be set off if I so much as break down on the kids for 5 seconds.
I’m actually walking around thinking about how proud I am of myself for how I’m keeping my cool with the amount of bickering that is brewing with every passing second.
I’m finally at my last stop in the store…like, we are so insanely close to successfully getting through the entire trip without any major embarrassing moments…when I catch a woman…an old, stoic, incredibly unhappy looking woman…staring at Bode and Harley Love. And, she’s not just staring at them; she’s staring them down with this hateful look on her face and…wait for it…slowly shaking her head from side to side in obvious disapproval of them sitting there in the cart the way they were. AND, SHE IS STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO ME. Like, I could reach over and touch her (which is code for punch her). I know that’s wrong to say, but it’s what I was feeling because I am, in my nature, an irrationally overprotective parent that would entertain a thought like that.
But, since I am trying really, really hard to not let this affect me and my seemingly “happy” place that I’m hanging onto by a thread, I decide to take the highest road I can, given the situation.
I edge closer to her, my eyes laser focused on hers, and say as clearly and sternly as I can without causing a scene, “Ma’am. Please. Just. DON’T.” I stare her down for a strong 5 seconds more, and calmly turn around and walk away slowly.
Because, at least when you use the words “ma’am” and “please”, you’re still keeping it classy…even though your delivery makes it clear that you’re ready to go to war.