Saturday, June 26, 2010

Watch Your Ankles, Lady.

Pizza Buffet. Four tired little girls. A pre-menstrual Mom. And a mean old lady.

That’s what’s got me spinning tonight.

We spent the whole day out running errands today. Mostly returning stuff to our usual places and getting a little lunch out. There’s this little Pizza Joint that ‘s a pseudo Cici’s that we love to eat at. Unlimited food seems to be a big pleaser for this family.

Some days the girls are just off. Especially after a night of not-so-good sleep or a morning of too much TV or just not enough structure or attention. These days suck. They suck the life out of me because my kids and I aren’t speaking the same language. It’s like even the subtitles are in a different language. I say “Please sit on your bottom” and they look at me as if I’d just said the Pledge of Allegiance in Mandarin. So I was NOT happy when I had to pull Edie out from underneath the thirteen HUNDRED dollar grill and tell Sophie to put down the sprinkler flags for the fifteenth time. All I kept thinking was that I needed food in my belly and everything would be ok.

…onto lunch.

White pizza, soup, salad, dessert. Unlimited cherry coke and mello yello. For real. Do you see why this place ranks high? We made our way to our tables and picked a place where we could park a stroller next to our table. We enjoyed lunch…Telemundo and Cartoon Network on the plasmas and we all just kinda vegged. Edie finished first and decided to take Lil A for a lil stroll around the table. I was at most 2 feet from her at all times and as the lady bussing tables approached, I told Edie to come back with Audrey….


We get compliments all the time when we are out in public. People always ooh and ahh at our four girls and smile and wave and gush over how cute and sweet they are. We get approached in restaurants by people all the time…people say ‘oh, how well behaved your girls are.’ And ‘oh, what sweet little girls you have’. ….


….Edie rounds the stroller in a circle and the bussing lady has to wait for me to corral her…at this time I look up at a woman sitting across the row from us. She is making eye contact with the bussing lady. Her eyes say it all. She looks with disdain and disgust at Edie. She rolls her eyes and looks to the bussing lady for confirmation. The bussing lady looks at Edie and smiles. I apologize to bussing lady.

I turn to Alex and explain what just happened. I watch the (mean old) lady get up to get more food. I am seething. Edie has done no harm.

Then I go bad.

“Edie, go take the stroller and run into that old lady.”

Oh yes I did. I told her to purposely crash the stroller into the ankles of that bitter old woman. I TOLD MY CHILD to take the stroller and use it to cause bodily harm to another human being. And I was not playing.

And she looked at me and said “What, ma?”

And I regained my composure and said
“nothing, babe….nothing.”

Before she left, the lady made it a point to go to the table next to us where sat a father and his two girls that were at least 10 and 12. She gushed about how well behaved they were and how kids these days have horrible manners.

Just as the estrogen in my blood stream, my temper spiked and I thought I would get loud for a minute and give this lady a piece of my mind….that I would tell her to not judge me….that I would tell her to walk a mile in my nursing bra.

But I didn’t….I left there discouraged. I left feeling like a terrible parent. I left feeling like I’d let my children disappoint me again with their behavior. I left there thinking all the thoughts of someone that was looking for favor and approval from perfect (or imperfect) strangers.

But tonight... now…? I am remembering what makes my kids so awesome and my family so different: Sophie leaving the dinner table saying her cheeks hurt from laughing so hard; Charley sharing her favorite Barbie with a sister who could so easily snap Barbie’s neck and leave her permanently disabled; Edie offering Audrey a toy she ‘can spit on’.

So it’s not all about how my kids behave in public….it’s not about how proud they can make me….it’s not about how many compliments old ladies give me…it’s not about who can get through Home Depot without jumping out of the cart.

It’s about their hearts and whether or not they know to love others as they love themselves.

Even mean old ladies.


EQ said...

Julie. I was thinking about you today and found this site! I hope you all are doing well. Do you really have 4 little girls? Mike & I have 2 so far. - Erin Quijano

Julie Keefe said...

Wow Erin! I never saw this comment! Where are you and what's up?? Are you on Facebook?

Julie Keefe said...

Wow Erin! I never saw this comment! Where are you and what's up?? Are you on Facebook?