I finally made it down to the DMV with my two kids! Talk about adulting. I had an appointment, we were thirty minutes early and if I had all the right papers we wouldn’t have to go back.
Lars was amazing. He wandered a little and eventually made a friend. They played around the chairs and laughed to my delight. I think the other mom was also happy that the kids wouldn’t be bored or getting into mischief.
Along comes an old man with old ideas about how kids should behave. He said things that made everyone slightly uncomfortable. He told them they would go to jail if they kept running. He said the other kid’s hair was perfect to pick him up with. People around me started to whisper. He was crossing the blurred line into unfamiliar territory.
What was I supposed to do? Call him out? “Sir, please don’t lie or be nasty with my child; I don’t want him to learn from your behavior. ” I laughed and threw myself under the bus. He reminded me of the old woman telling school kids doing homework at the library to ‘quiet down’. It comes from a different generation. Children are not less than human.
Lars was scared. I didn’t see it or acknowledge it then but I remember it now. He put his fist in his mouth and asked the old man where his mom was. “I’m right here, honey. ” I was right behind him with a few rows of chairs between us. He scurried toward me and stayed seated the rest of our wait.
Tonight my mind is working on a few things. I keep coming back to myself as a parent in a public place. Was there a way I could have provided support for the kids without humiliating this old man? How could I get the old man on my team? I often think that soon the youth will rule the world, but I don’t think telling him he’ll die soon will get me any where.
Is there a way to show pride in something that someone else thinks is wrong?