Today I lost my mom-cool in public.
In my defense, I have felt like poo most of this week. I missed Thanksgiving with my family due to being under the weather. So I definitely wasn’t on my A-game.
On top of this, Thanksgiving weekend isn’t exactly the time for a single mom to take 2 kids, one of whom has Autism, to the craft store. But the 70% off sale at JoAnn Fabrics had me over a barrel, so I sucked it up, bribed my kids with gummy bears, and off we went.
As soon as we turned into the parking lot, I cringed.
But today was the only day for the sale, and I had already made a promise to my friend Jessica that I would contribute a fleece blanket to the family that my girlfriends and I adopted for Christmas. If I paid full price for the fleece material, it was going to cost over $75. Sale price with my coupon: $18.
I sent Zoe straight to the toy section with Zion, and told her to keep him there as long as possible. I broke left to the hundreds of bolts of fleece, searching frantically for solid lime and some sort of lime print. It was a very specific request from the mom of the family we adopted, and I really wanted to fulfill that.
Why, you ask?
I have walked a mile in those shoes.
I know how it feels to have strangers provide Christmas gifts to my children. And there but for the grace of God, go I.
So I quickly grabbed my bolts of material, and made a mad dash for the cutting station.
The line was brutal.
I had to take a number.
I looked up to see they were currently serving number 22.
I cringed again as I pulled my number ticket.
Not bad. It could certainly be worse.
A few minutes in, Zoe walked back up to me with Zion and said “I’m done.”
I knew she’d held him at bay as long as she could.
I positioned Zion on the floor with my phone so he could play some games while we waited.
5 minutes passed.
Most of the people in front of me were buying dozens of yards of fleece.
Zion was starting to making a scene, and the lady in front of me turned around and glared directly at him.
Careful lady, I have eaten things bigger than you.
Zion was getting more vocal, and I told him if he could wait 5 more minutes quietly, he would get his gummies.
The lady muttered under her breath, “Control your child.”
Oh HELL no.
I was starting to get really agitated. I noticed myself trying to burn a hole in the side of her face with my death laser stare, so I gathered my kids and we moved away from her.
Well…in that process, apparently I missed the clerk calling my number.
I heard the clerk call number 32.
I spoke up and said “You skipped number 31.”
The clerk said “I’m sorry, I called number 31 but you didn’t answer.”
Then number 32 heaved her bolts onto the counter and said “32 here.”
Guess who was number 32?
You guessed it.
I said, “I have number 31, I didn’t hear them call my number.”
She said “Well then I guess you missed your turn.”
That was it.
Before I could even think, I said in a raised voice, “Listen chirpy, unless you have a ticket in your hand that has a number on it that is LOWER than the number 31, it is MY turn!”
(Except for Zion, of course.)
I immediately wanted to crawl under the counter.
The clerk served me first.
But that was the longest 3 minutes of my life.
I must have thought 1,000 justified thoughts in that 3 minutes.
Doesn’t this hooker see that I have a child with special needs?
Would it help if I grabbed her by the ears and screamed “THIS IS A GIFT FOR THE POOR, YOU PSYCHO?!”
“I guess you missed your turn?” Who says that?
How would she look with her front teeth missing?
In my mind, I had already knocked her out, regained my composure, and gathered my children as we stood around her, Charlie Brown-style, singing “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.”
But in reality, her fleece was still cut and measured before mine, and when we got to the front of the store to stand in line yet again….she was right in front of us.
I wish I could say I apologized. Or said something witty. Or even judo-kicked her in the back and took her place in line.
But in the end, we still walked out of the store at the exact same time.
After all the meanness, and passive-agressiveness, and imaginary Chuck Norris-esque smack downs, when all was said and done, we both lost the opportunity to show kindness and behave like civilized adults.
Only my behavior was worse….because mine was in front of my children.
It was quiet in the car on the drive home. No one said much.
When we pulled into the driveway, I looked at my kids and I said “I acted like a child at the store. It isn’t right to treat people that way, even when they are acting like jerks.”
My daughter said, “I don’t like it when people treat Zion like that. He can’t help it.”
So I said, “Well, what should we do next time?”
Zoe smiled and said, “Just give me the sign, and I will tackle her.”
The apple sure didn’t fall far from this tree, now did it?