My kids were quietly listening to a show on their iPad. Like volume 2 quiet. Like quieter than the jazz fusion music playing on the waiting rooms speakers. They were sucking on lollipops. Sitting on their chairs. Frankly, It’s probably the best behaved they had been all day.
I was equipped with water, snacks and toys because you never know how much you’ll have to wait at these things. And with two kids under six, you don’t leave anything to chance.
And it wasn’t like I had wanted my kids there. I had a babysitter scheduled who canceled. I had my mom swinging by to pick the kids up as soon as she got done with her appointment. This wasn’t my plan A but you learn in parenting sometimes you just have to roll with it.
We were there less than a minute before a woman typing forcefully into her phone snapped “you do NOT expect me to listen to this crap! Have some decency. Have some respect.”
Now, I am the most non-conflict person you’ve probably met in your life. I cower in the face of conflict. But this just felt ridiculous. My kids were being fine. Better than fine… Good, really.
I paused to consider my move. But my heart was racing and I was visibly shaking. “I will turn it down but you could ask a little nicer.” I fumbled as the tears started to pool up in my eyes. Calgon, take me away….
“Your kids have been screaming since the moment you walked thru the door!” She snapped back.
And I guess that’s when I realized how sad this lady must be. Sad and lonely and not even living in reality. My kids hardly made a peep since we walked in the door. The very problem this lady had with my kids was the fact that they were kids. And for some people, that is enough. More than enough.
An assistant quickly ushered her out of the waiting room and the receptionist looked at me with apologetic eyes.
“I’m so sorry,” the receptionist said. “She’s always like that.”
And a moment that started with frustration and anger, immediately transformed into one of deep saddened sympathy.
And it sucks because we try so hard to not make our kids an inconvenience in the world around us. We zombie them out with sugar and screens. On airplanes, we bring gift bags for the people around us and apologize in advance.
We try to keep kids from behaving like kids for the people who don’t understand kids. It’s asenine though.
Since when did kids become the bad guys? Why as a society Do we stand by the “kids should be seen not heard” declaration of our grandparents and great grandparents.
And I get it, there is a line here. Kids using the chairs in the waiting room as a jungle gym would be crossing that line. But kids just be present? That’s a low blow.
I have spent the rest of my afternoon thinking about what I should have said to that lady. Hindsight is 20/20 right? And my best comebacks are always in hindsight.
But the truth is nothing that I said would have mattered. “She’s always like that.”
This is the world we live in, and we as mothers know it better than anyone.
But good God, let’s have a little grace for our kids.