Rick’s weekly soccer games scare the hell out of me. My idea of a fun Friday night has absolutely nothing to do with observing a group of testosterone-driven, middle-aged men, repeatedly colliding into one another, chasing a little black and white ball back and forth across an indoor field, only to walk off the field 50 minutes later with a variety of bruises, bumps and lumps.
I weasel out of the games any chance I can, and tonight was one of those nights.
Rather than hang out and watch the carnage, I dropped Rick off at the sports complex and headed to The Dollar Tree for some good ‘ol fashion dollar-spendin’ fun. (I bought a bad ass little robot book light, by the way – Probably the best dollar I’ve ever spent – Well, aside from that one night at the ballet, I suppose).
As I’m browsing the dollar depot aisles, finding all sorts of random crap I know I don’t need, I can’t help but hear the voice of one of those parents who thinks it’s kosher to stand in the middle of a public setting, and yell at the top of her lungs to a child who she presumes to be the obnoxious one.
The shouting was constant. And the mother’s sharp tongue only received the response of a sweet, small, squeaky voice that seemed to want only to please the aggressively-toned woman.
“Well! Which one do you want?! And hurry up…Just hurry up!”
“Okay. Um. I want the ladybug!”
“You can’t have the ladybug! Pick one! Pick one! You know what, never mind…you’re taking too long!”
I thought to myself, “What a ridiculous reaction to the indecisiveness of a little seven year old.”
The repeated hollering and berating continued throughout the store until the woman decided to finalize her purchases at the front counter. At this point, I was able to catch a look at the little girl – somewhat plump, long, brown hair, big brown eyes and a smiley face. The adult that was attached to her was a slovenly, pathetic excuse of a human being. She was probably about thirty years old.
After making my assessment, I turned to resume to my shopping spree. The woman stood at the checkout counter and suddenly screamed:
“Are you kidding me?! JESUS CHRIST! GET over HERE! C’mon!
She grabbed the little girl by the arm, pivoted around to head back into the aisles, and yanked the little one’s arm so hard she tripped on her flip flop, and fell face down onto the floor. The parental unit spun back around and said:
“OH MY GOD! Get up! Get up! Right now! I swear! You can’t do anything right! You never do anything right!” She reached to grab the child’s arm again and said, “I am going to break your wrist!” She dropped the child’s hand, and headed into the aisles solo to retrieve whatever it is she still needed. The little girl scrambled to pick herself up from the floor.
The sweet, little voice said:
“My flip flop, mommy. My flip flop.”
“I don’t give a damn about your flip flop. Just wait ’til we get home!”
“I’m so sorry mommy – I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”
My stomach turned so hard, I felt like I was truly holding back vomit.
In that moment, I felt stunned. Paralyzed. I thought to myself, “I have to do something. Or at least say something. But wait. What if a comment would somehow get twisted around and then taken out on that little baby once the woman was out of the public eye? What if a comment would only make things worse?”
By the time I pulled myself out of my head and back into reality, the pair was gone.
I’ve felt sickened by this incident all evening. I feel mad at myself for not doing something, even though I still don’t know what I could have done. I wish I could go back to the store and take the little girl away from that woman and drop her off at some sort of kid home, or something (they do make those, don’t they?).
How could somebody treat a little kid like that?
Anyway. I didn’t know how to handle that. And it’s bothering me. And the only solution I know of for tonight is to pray. I will pray for that little girl, I will pray for her beast of a mother, and I will pray for the knowledge that will allow me to handle such a situation better, moving forward.
And maybe next week, I’ll just bite the bullet and go to the damn game.
I didn’t get a real shot of this woman, but I found this, instead. It’s a fairly accurate representation of what she looked like.