A Failure in Kindness

If you are reading this, try not to judge.

I failed at kindness today.  I was in the grocery store, and my son had to use the restroom.  So as I was helping him pull up his pants, with a baby in my arms, another woman came into the restroom with a child in tow.  “Look” she said, “see, there are other kids in here too!!  Isn’t that exciting honey????”  

…Hmm.  I looked up and smiled and said hello.  The little girl pointed at my baby and said, “baby!”  

“Ohhhh, yesssss honey she is a baby!!!  Oh [to me] she’s just so fixated on babies we took her pacifier away and it’s only at nap time that she can have it so every time she sees a baby with a pacifier she notices it…she’ll be 2 in a month so pacifiers ONLY at bed time, right honey? and she knows the rule so then she says she’s sleepy in order to get her pacifier….”  and here the little girl informed us that she was sleepy and then promptly walked directly up to my baby and pulled the pacifier out of her mouth while her mother talked.  and talked.  and talked.  and told me at least six times that her coffee had kicked in and that her coffee must have kicked in because she had just had her morning coffee so it must have kicked in and oh goodness, the only way she can get her child to go grocery shopping was to give her one of the free cookies at the bakery and did I know that you can get a free cookie at the bakery for the kids while you are shopping?  She was still talking as she led her child away to begin her grocery shopping–as if we’d known each other for years.  “See you later” she said to me.

The thing is, if I am being honest, it irritated me.  I was in a rush, my baby is 26 lbs and was in a full lean to get out of my arms as I used my knees to boost her up so that she would not fall on her head onto the floor.  I was sweating with effort and in the attempt to cover up my substantial desire to leave that restroom and end that conversation.  Something about her continual chatter made me nervous and want to exit immediately.  Could have been the heavy baby, or the overload of information.  Could have been that her kid stole my kid’s pacifier, or any other number of reasons.  But as I think about it now, this mother was clearly lonely.  I was outwardly perfectly kind (aside from what I know was visible perspiration from the stress of it).  But inwardly, I was frustrated.  I know that I judged her for her extremely verbal stream of consciousness.  And I am sorry for that because it wasn’t kind.  And that’s the honest truth.  


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