We spent Saturday afternoon walking around an outdoor outlet mall about an hour’s drive from home. The sun was shining and the day was glorious, but I was completely miserable. I was stewing in guilt for having chosen to bring the whole family along to what turned out to be a crowded, hectic, frenetic place. I can’t imagine what the hell I was thinking.
The weather was beautiful, so I had liked the idea of being mostly out of doors. We needed a few things for the girls for school and I figured it might be a fun way to do some necessary shopping. You know, like um, chewing glass or walking barefoot over hot coals kind of fun. It’s not as big a disaster as you think was my dear husband’s mantra for the day. (I appreciate the sentiment, Hon. I really do. But I’m pretty sure it was epically bad.)
Squeezing ourselves through the overcrowded aisles at Burberry, (like I’m going to buy anything in Burberry? No idea why the hell we were there) Brooke and I passed a mother pushing a deliciously chunky baby in a carriage. I peeked in just in time to see his cherubic face settle into sleep, his little eyes fluttering closed.
The mom and I exchanged what would have been a lovely shared moment – until her smile flattened, her eyes narrowed and her lip curled into a sneer. Brooke had looked into the carriage, crouched down into the baby’s face and sharply yelled, “WAKE UP BABY!”
The mother looked as though she might kill me when he obliged.
Usually, I have something to say. I’m so sorry that she woke the baby, ma’am. She has autism which makes it hard for her to understand what’s appropriate. Something – anything. But this time I had nothing. I was tired. I was rattled. I was so on edge that I was over the edge. I felt like an abject failure. I mouthed I’m sorry and slunk pathetically around the corner without another word.
Sometimes I have my soapbox at the ready. Sometimes I can explain it all. Sometimes I can educate and help create awareness and foster sensitivity. Sometimes I can build bridges.
And then sometimes I’m just sorry.