To the woman who called me an idiot in a parking lot today,
I realized too late that I was going the wrong way in a one way side of an otherwise empty parking lot. The markings were very faded, years having passed since the last application of paint. But I did see you as you walked in front of me in your high heels and white pantsuit. We made eye contact and you stared at me with a look of disgust in your eyes. I mouthed an “I’m sorry” as you trotted in front of my car. When you made it across, I drove slowly past. I looked in my rear view mirror as you opened your door and I heard you say “idiot” as you looked up at my car. You must have said it pretty loud because I heard it inside my car with the windows rolled up. I’ll admit, it stung.
For a split second I pictured myself slamming on the brakes and confronting you for your rude behavior, because that’s the kind of day I had been having- the kind of day that makes me want to lash out at complete strangers to vindicate my own frustration. But I stopped myself. After all, maybe you were having one of those days too.
There’s no way that you could have known that my two year old son woke up at 4 am running a high fever. I gave him some ibuprofen and sat up with him for over an hour watching cartoons until he was ready to fall asleep again.
You didn’t know that when I heard him making noises a few hours after, I went into his room and found him lying on his side, his pillow soaked in slobber, and him moaning. I picked him up and his body was hot and limp. His arms hung like dead weights to his sides and his head lolled about as I carried him to the rocking chair. He slurred what little speech he had and had a hard time focusing on me. I gave him medicine to bring down his fever as we discussed taking him to the ER.
You can’t imagine how it felt to be holding him a few minutes later when I looked down to see the pupils in his eyes get large, his eyeballs roll back into his head and his face start uncontrollably twitching- to hear his mouth making gurgling noises and watch the bubbles foam from his lips like some rabid animal. I yelled for my husband. I got my neighbor who is a nurse.
And you had no idea that I watched my baby’s body twitch, his skin get pale, and his lips turn blue as he struggled to breathe. I actually called 911, talked to the operator and then ended the call as his color came back, the whole episode lasting mere minutes.
You didn’t watch him slowly come back, with stiff twitches and moans until he was able to open his eyes, his body exhausted from the episode.
You didn’t know that my husband took my son to the pediatrician to have him checked out, but I couldn’t join them because I couldn’t reschedule my first physical therapy appointment to help my broken finger.
You didn’t know that my family has been sick for the better part of three weeks, that I have deadlines at work, and projects that need finished.
You had no idea I had a massive headache from the incredible amount of crying that I did today- during and after the incident, and in the quiet moments.
You had no clue that just moments before we met, I had just gone to Chik-Fil-A to get some fries and tea because I had barely eaten all day and I hoped the sugar from the tea would console my headache until I could get medicine.
And you didn’t know that after our encounter I went to the boardwalk and stared at the vast expanse of the bay because I needed to feel small. I needed to be reminded that in the grand scheme of things, my bad day was only a sliver of my existence and certainly not the focal point. I needed the tangible reminder of my Father’s provision as I watched the gulls fly and listened to the water lap onto the beach.
No, you saw me in that one moment and passed judgment. I understand it though, we’ve all done it. Someone does something stupid, or silly, or annoying and we are quick to lash out with an unkind word or stare, having little concern of how it might impact the recipient, our self righteous indignation superseding someone else’s dignity. But when you’re treading water, the last thing you need is someone to splash you. So how about next time you try better and so will I. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and you give it to me. And then let’s extend it to all the other people we cross paths with, so that our brief moments and interactions benefit each other instead of doing damage. Let’s do better.
One tired mommy
Thank you all for the kind words and prayers. Today I am thankful that my little guy is doing ok. He does have the flu, but his lungs are clear (which is always a major concern.) His fever has been under control since this morning and this evening he was running around the house without a care in the world. God is good. Please continue to pray that the fever remains down and he can kick this virus quickly.
I am thankful that we have EMTs living on one side of us, and a nurse on the other side. And I’m so grateful the nurse came over when I pounded on her door and begged her to look at my seizing boy.
I’m grateful the doctor reiterated that he will most likely grow out of these febrile seizures as he gets older and no damage is done when they happen, it’s just his body’s reaction to a sudden spike in temperature.
And I’m grateful for my husband being home sick today. If he’d been at work, I would have been going through that alone. So glad he was there.