'Tis the season for sparkling decorations, bustling shoppers, busy schedules and really mean ladies running down small children with shopping carts.
I went grocery shopping today with my two sons. (I have mentioned my disdain for shopping, right?) When I go grocery shopping I must have a list. I have a planned path through the store and I am surprising and uncharacteristically organized as I pick out my things. When my kids join me it adds an extra element to keep track of, but my children are well-behaved children by my standards and rarely step outside a three foot radius around the shopping cart.
Today Micah, my three year old, stepped away from the cart, again only about three feet away, to gaze lovingly at the Mac N Cheese. This should not surprise any other young moms out there. Who doesn't love the Mac N Cheese, right? At any rate, an older lady ran her cart into my young son's head. It was clearly her fault. I quickly pulled Micah over to my side. At this point, this lady who I am telling myself must have experienced horrible morning already, glared at me and my little boy and started shaking her head like it was our fault she assaulted him.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I was rushed today. I was semi-stressed out and only had a limited amount of time to get groceries. It is after all the Christmas season and as much as I preach to Rethink Christmas, I have allowed my schedule to make me a crazy person this year. Normal behavior for me in a situation such as this would be to quietly apologize for the incident and move along avoiding the lady like the black plague. Not so today, my friends, not so today. You see, I've been in several grocery stores over the last several months and this is not the first incident I have encountered where someone ran either me or one my kids down with a shopping cart and then unapologetically moved along. Today, I snapped.
I looked this lady in the eye and said, "Excuse me. Do not shake your head at my son. He is only three. You ran HIM down." At which point, she quickly scuttled off still shaking her graying head at me.
So, I did what every other well-meaning and frustrated young parent would do...I stalked her through the rest of the store. I quietly did the rest of my shopping while maintaining a close distance with this lady. I gave her some extra time to witness how great my boys truly are. Then I followed her right into the same check-out line. Her mouth began to gape as she noticed us right behind her in line, and I'll be honest she did look a little scared of me. I then gave her a great big smile. Now I wish I would have wished her a Merry Christmas. Then, keeping in character, she was rude to the cashier and went on her merry way double checking her receipt for mistakes.
One of my biggest pet peeves of young moms is the complaining about how hard it is to be a young mom. I can't stand that. I do not want my kids to EVER hear me complain about one second of the short time that I get to spend with them. I do not EVER want them to think that they are unloved or unwanted or unappreciated. I also feel you teach your kids to whine about life being hard when they hear you whine about life being hard.
Life is tough. This time of year is stressful, sadly enough. It doesn't have to be. We make the choice to be frustrated. We make the choice of how to respond to life. Just like I made the choice to follow her through the store, just to get a chance to smile at her. I could have easily either avoided her or thrown a package of spaghetti at her head, my response, my choice.
I feel sad for that lady in the store. I wonder what makes her so upset that even at Christmas time she can't smile at a wide eyed three year old standing by the Mac N Cheese.
In the end, I simply want people to be nice and not run down my kids with shopping carts, but I cannot control the behavior of others. I can only control my response. I make the choice to let people steal my joy.
In this season of rush and want, smile. Be joyous and let the gift of Christ shine from your face, your countenance. Be nice, and remember you make the choice how to respond. You make the choice to get angry, raise your voice, or throw spaghetti.
'Tis the season to share Joy!!!
"An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord." ~Luke 2:9-11