The other day I was at a department store with only one of my children. Laurel and I had taken a couple of hours to run errands and spend time together and it was really fun. I only needed one item at this store so it was to be a quick trip.
As the clerk checked us out I was surprised at the total. I thought the item was $9.99, it rang up $19.99. I knew immediately that it was a mistake that I had made, but the clerk wanted to check anyway. We stood waiting for verification, laughing and making small talk. From the right hand side of the store I heard a woman's voice tense with anger.
"Get over here. No, not there, right here."
As she approached I saw that her little guy was no more than three or four. He did look a little mischievous (I recognize that!) but was smiling sweetly and doing his best to do what his mother asked. The mother continued to berate her little boy while they checked out. The final blow came as they went to walk out of the store and he reached up for her hand.
"Don't touch me. Go put the cart back. Not that door, this one."
My heart broke for this little guy and his mom. Don't get me wrong, I have no idea what happened in this woman's life this particular day. I have definitely had moments of serious regret when it comes to how I have spoken to my children.
However, we should never take our stress-filled lives out on the most innocent. More importantly we should help each other out. Could I have lightened the mood with a kind remark or a show of sisterhood? I won't know because I let the moment slip away.
It won't happen next time, though. I hope if someone sees me being harsh with my children they would help me out.