You are at the grocery store, your children being watched by someone else as you stand in line to be checked out. The woman in front has two children and is trying to keep both close by and safe while the cashier messes up ringing her up. You sigh, rolling your eyes. The register locks up for some reason while the mama is trying to get a toddler to sit in the cart. She smiles at you and says "Sorry, figures!" and laughs nervously as you give her a blank stare.
You are at the park, playing with your only child, giving him or her your full attention. A mama in jeans, plain t-shirt and sandals walks up trying to get a toddler to cooperate to chase after her older sister who is tired of playing on the baby part of the playground. The toddler had spilled water all over herself and her mama just a moment ago because she is trying to learn to drink without a sippy cup. The mama smiles at you without makeup on while her older child tries to start a conversation with your child, who is about the same age as her. Your child doesn't give her child the time of day and you offer the mama about the same attitude, as you wear a Gucci dress.
You are walking through the local Target with your teenager who hates you. A mama is holding a toddler in her arms while a 5 year old tries to push the shopping cart. The toddler says hi to you. You see her but say nothing and go on with your day.
You are standing outside to pick up your child from school and a mama with her toddler walk up to stand in the same area as you, just like everyone else. It is just the three of you because it just worked that way with timing. The mama smiles at you. You just look and turn your head.
You are driving down the road and come up behind a car that is going the speed limit. You honk the horn, squeeze by and flip the mama off with your manicured nail.
You are standing in line behind a mama who is checking out a movie at the library. Her children are hugging and kissing each other and laughing and singing because they love each other and feel safe and comfortable at the library. The mama tells them to be more quiet, please. She turns to you because she sees the noise was bothering you. She says "Sorry, they just love each other and the library." You look at her and say nothing. Or, say "They are testing you to see how much they can get away with. You need to start stepping in and parenting them instead of worrying about some movie (that the toddler and older child wanted to see)."
You are at the grocery store and your three daughters are dancing together while you stand in line to be checked out. A mama's older daughter smiles at your daughters and starts to dance as well. Your daughters look at each other, laugh that she did ballet, and say "Come on, let's go over here so she's not looking at us." They also make racial comments about her being white. You just stand there.
Perhaps you were just having a miserable day because the cabinets you ordered came in the wrong color. Or you just wanted to run into the store quickly and feel as though you are being held up from doing something more important. Or who knows what?
That mama could have a Babcia (grandmother in Polish) in another country who is old and lonely and having heart problems and that mama could be worried. That mama could have just moved to your town from another state. That mama could have her brother hundreds of miles away from her and her mother even farther away. That mama could have moved to your town because she was tired of living away from her father for so many years. The rest of her family could be even further away.
That mama could have gained a few pounds since moving to your town because there is nowhere she can go to exercise outside and her normal routine has been thrown. She could have had to run out the door to the grocery store and decided that while she was the type to always leave the house with makeup on, what was the point anymore? And for her to feel that way, something was definitely changed.
She could have 20,000 other burdens to carry that she can't share with people.
That mama could have had just had as bad a day as you are having.
And you could be missing out on an amazing person.
Someone who would come with her husband right away if you called stuck in a blizzard. Or needed help shoveling out your driveway. Or help you move. Or watch your kids if you went in for surgery. Or would go for walks with you for exercise together to try to keep you motivated to stay in shape. Or hold your hand while you grieve over losing a loved one. Or help you try to get a strange stain out of your carpet. Or watch your house for you while you went out of the country for a month on vacation.
You could smile. It won't break your face.
This is the week I've had. How was yours?