People of Wal-Mart
Friday night I had to find a tree.
The last few years we've had a real one. We didn't feel like doing that this year so we went to get the fake one out - only to remember we threw it away. Yikes.
I took the girls to Big Lots (nothing good) then to Wal-Mart. I thought I wanted a pencil tree and do like the idea of them, but I'm just too traditional.
We went with a 7.5 foot prelit with white lights. Last weekend I bought a new white fur tree skirt and was super excited to see the whole thing come together.
Waiting in the check-out line Madeline turns to me "mom there's the girl who was throwing candy at us at the movies. Don't look DON'T LOOK" (because I was definitely looking).
"Where is she? I don't see her...is that her mom? Oooooh I'm gonna talk to her mom."
I planned the whole thing out. I was going to ask her if that was her daughter...then ask the daughter if she was at the Peanuts movie a couple weeks ago. Then tell them both I thought I recognized her because she wouldn't STOP. Throwing. Candy. At me and my family!!!! Bam! shots fired, now your mom knows you're a little shit and I succeed at a total b*&@" move. Ahhh victory is almost mine!!!
Madeline asks me not to say anything, then tells me I can - if she can go to the car. So, of course I give her the keys. THIS IS GOING DOWN FOR REAL. (later I learn she really, really wanted me to say something). Bah - speak up with the truth Madeline - but I think she knows deep down speaking out was not the right thing.
We weren't in the same checkout line, but side by side, so this was going to be perfect. I will just naturally stroll up like its small talk and this will all just flow off my tongue.
Then I get there. And I hear the mom tell the cashier "I've always wanted to do this for a baby shower, buy all the little toiletries and accessories" as she puts a little container of baby powder on the belt. I look at the girl, at the mom - man I didn't think I would be nervous! This is my moment!...then I look down and see the little boy in the cart. Not the little kid area at the front of the cart, but the big part. Sitting on his coat smiling at his sister, looking around happy. He had Downs Syndrome - and in that moment when I saw him, the girl saw me and she went white. We locked eyes and she could tell - I was about the say something and she was scared.
I don't know anything about her life. But I knew that I didn't want to get her in trouble anymore. I didn't want the mom, who probably already knows her daughter is a little shit, to have her moment of happiness for buying a gift ruined. And I didn't want to add any more stress for that mama.
So I smiled at the girl. She knew what she did and that was enough. She recognized me from the movie, I'm the only white girl with dreads on the east side - and she knows Madeline. Part of the reason Madeline recognized her is because she's in her grade at school. I didn't know that, I thought M just recognized her from the movie (and I was very impressed at her memory).
Anxiously I get to the car. M is waiting so I quickly told her I didn't say anything. That it wasn't the right thing to do so I decided not to do it. I told her about the little brother. Madeline says she knows and that the girl had also been really mean to her at her summer camp a couple years ago but when she would get in trouble the girl would start crying about her brother with Downs Syndrome.
Seems like that little girl has figured out how to make people feel sorry for her.
I still feel like I did the right thing. It was never about the girl, it was about the mom. I don't know her exact struggles, but I know being a mom is hard. And exhausting and completely rewarding but sometimes it just sucks. And there are days you don't want someone in the checkout line to ruin your little bit of happiness. Especially when it would be a stranger telling you what a little shit your kid is. Because you already know that, and you have to love them anyway.