I was making a run to Wal-Mart during the Christmas season and had my son Jacob with me. As I started to pull into the parking space reserved for mommies with babies, a van pulled through the empty space behind that spot and parked there. I had my signal on and the woman who parked there saw me, but didn’t acknowledge me at all.
I was a little peeved but thought, oh well there are other spaces. But when the woman got out of the car and started walking into Wal-Mart sans a baby, that really made me mad. It’s not that I felt entitled to that spot as a mother; it’s that a car seat with a 17 pound baby is really heavy, so parking closer is helpful. The pre-mom Cristina would have rolled down the window and told that woman to get back into her car and move it now, but the mommy Cristina just took a deep breath and let it go.
Once inside, I saw the woman. I decided to approach her and be extremely polite. I smiled and said “Excuse me, I was about to park in that mommy spot outside and noticed you did, but don’t have a child with you. Don’t you think that’s a little rude?” She didn’t look at me. She continued looking at the book she was holding in her hand, waved me off and said “F*#k You” under her breath.
I was so shocked! Again, there was a part of me that saw red. I could see a Jerry Springer scene playing in my mind. But as my hands were on the stroller, I thought again, I’m a mother now I can’t get into random fights. So instead I said “I’m really sorry you feel that way. I was trying to be nice and just wanted to make a little point. Obviously, you must be having a bad day. So I really hope it gets better for you.” I walked away. I didn’t wait for a reaction, I just left because my blood was still boiling and my hands were shaking with rage. Walking away from being spoken to that way was tough!
I was brought up in an Italian house hold in which I was taught to take sh!t from no one (unless of course I did something wrong and an adult or authority figure was reprimanding me, then I’d better listen and keep my mouth shut). However, what my father always told me growing up was that you never know what someone else’s life is like, or what they’re going through.
If ever we saw a homeless person, he was quick to give them whatever coins he had in his pocket. If the people we were with made any comments to my dad about how that homeless guy should get a job, my dad would always say “You have no idea how they got to that spot on the sidewalk. Life is hard. This could be you one day.”
His voice was in my head that day at Wal-Mart. In the same moment that I wanted my fist to be in that woman’s jaw for speaking to me like that, there was another part of me that wanted to hug her. So I said what I said and got on with my life.
I still think I made my point, just without my knuckles. 😉