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Jun 2, 2011

Letter to a stranger

Dear woman at the park,

What did you think of that little spectacle we created on the sidewalk?  Wasn't that pleasant?

I'm sorry that my fast-as-lightning three-year-old got away from me, and that I had to yell across the park for him to come back to the van.  Since you were so busy passing judgment, you probably didn't notice that I was trying to haul a very reluctant two-year-old, her scooter and helmet, five lunch bags and water bottles, a heavy purse, and my six-months-pregnant, half-crippled self to the same van.  Since you know nothing about my wandering child, or about my extraordinary efforts to watch him and keep him safe, your little tirade about my failures as a parent was the last thing in the world I needed to hear today.

Did you know that it is situations like that and people like you that make me want to stay home with the doors and windows barred shut every day?  Do you have any idea how much legitimate courage I had to muster this morning to take my family on a two-hour outing to that particular park?  I try so very hard to do good things for my kids.  I want them to enjoy the summer, to get exercise and sunshine, to play with other children, and to experience life outside of our home.  But stinging words like yours make me realize how many people think I won't ever be able to do it right.

So I'm sorry that I yelled back at you.  I don't usually do that to people who criticize me in public (trust me--you're not the first).  I'm not proud of how I acted.  But this mama bear had to roar.  I'm trying too hard to have my efforts thrown in my face, especially by someone so completely unconnected with my life.

I hope you and your dog and your single child had a nice walk.

Sincerely,

A total stranger
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