No, sorry isn’t enough.
I don’t know you, I don’t know if you are a “good mom” or a “bad mom.” I don’t know if you like pizza or what your favorite flavor of ice cream is. I know absolutely NOTHING about you. I could have gotten to know you today, but I didn’t. Because at the time, I was too embarrassed by my own thoughts.
I had taken my son and nephew to the splash pad to play. Just the day before my toddler had driven me past my breaking point. It takes a LONG time for me to get to that point but man oh man the sass was strong! All I knew was that we needed out of the house and we needed to blow off some steam. We played for about an hour before we decided to wander around the park. As we came back to the splash pad the boys began to play and I noticed two boys off to my left who looked out of place.
Now my mom radar was on. I couldn’t tell who their parents were. They looked almost like twins so I knew they had to be together. It didn’t take me long to realize that one had a severe disability, the other seemed, if anything, to suffer from some sort of social anxiety. Maybe there was another layer to it. I won’t speculate much here. All I know is I got very angry because no one was sitting with them, no one was talking to them and no one was comforting them. I was only angry because as a mother I don’t want to see any child hurt or ignored.
I began to look around and I couldn’t put my finger on who they belonged to. I analyzed everyone and started to weed out the possibilities. Then, I saw her. She was sitting next to a large stroller watching the other children play. She was not sitting near the boys or even looking in their direction. My first thought was “seriously?” I could think of a million things I could be doing with those boys if they were mine…. I’m such an idiot, seriously I’m just an idiot.
After awhile she got up and told one of the boys to play a little bit and she reached down and picked up the other boy and walked him out to the center of the splash pad. God I am in tears as I write this. All the anger inside me spilled over. I had no one to be angry at but myself. How dare I judge this mother.
Here she was, clearly overweight, clearly a mother of two boys with some sort of emotional and physical disabilities. A mother who is tired. One who gets as irritated more often than I do. A mother who probably fights emotional battles all day. A mother who probably wouldn’t want anyone to feel sorry for her. A mother who loves her two sons as much as I love mine but was dealt a different hand.
Maybe earlier when she was watching the other children play she was thinking about how warm the sun felt beating down on her skin. Maybe she was breathing in a few minutes of peace and praying for her family. Maybe in those few minutes that I judged her she was just enjoying not being needed or touched by someone.
I watched her carry her little boy into the splash pad with a face full of determination. Everyone watched as she set him down and walked back out completely soaked. I know she has lived through more hard moments than I have as a mother. That she will be taking care of that little boy for the rest of his life. That she won’t get the breaks I do. That she will be a full time mom forever. That she won’t be able to run and play with her little boy. That she won’t get to watch him run across the splash pad being silly. And it absolutely broke my heart in to a thousand little pieces.
So to you, whoever you were, I am truly sorry. I wish I would have stayed a little longer and moved to sit with you, to include you in some mom talk. To assure you that you and your boys both belonged in the place that you had come to play and get some fresh air…but I didn’t.
But since you’re reading this, maybe you will learn from my mistake.
We are all just trying to get by as parents. No one is doing it right all the time. Some of us are good parents, some of us are great parents and some of us are down right TERRIBLE parents. Shoot she could have been a terrible mother! But that doesn’t really matter. I empathized with her situation and knew that it was not my place to judge her from a five minute observation.
I’m not a very religious person but I know when God is speaking to me and today he spoke loud and clear. Clear enough to teach me a lesson and remind me of my blessings and the beautiful children I get to call mine.
Carpe the Hell out of Your Diem