I was getting a sandwich at the nearby grocery store at lunch today. The parking lot is always busy during the lunch hour, with people of all ages walking to and from their vehicles, cars trying to pull out of parking spaces, and just the general chaos of a busy place. Today I was moving slowly down the lane when I saw this woman with two children walking toward their car, the older of which was maybe 4. He was tugging on his mom’s hand with this big, wide grin on his face, trying to pull free, and he was successful of getting out of her grip … and falling down right in front of my vehicle. Granted I was only going about 2 mph and watching him as I approached, but to have a child suddenly jerk, stumble, fall in front a few feet in front of a vehicle you are operating … let me just say it scared the shit out of me. I hit my brakes hard, but as I was barely moving it was not like a jerking stop. His mother gave me a horrified look as she picked him up, but then she did something amazing … she took that boy by the hand and marched him up to my side of the car. When I rolled down the window, I heard her calmly telling her son to apologize for misbehaving and stepping in front of my car and scaring me. He was crying, was scared, and obviously did not want to do it, but she was calm and firm and he finally sobbed out he was sorry. She also apologized to me, I thanked her and told the little boy to always hold an adult’s hand in parking lots, and thanked her again for being a good parent.
My hands are still shaking as I type about this. I think that young woman was a good and sensible parent, using what could have been a tragedy to teach her son an important lesson, so I am not angry upset about the incident.
Dear friends of ours are separated and enroute to divorce. It is a sad situation, but if what we have heard is correct (and I have no reason to doubt it), he left before becoming involved with his current squeeze. Their children (his and hers, none together) are all young adults and seem sad and trying to be supportive. The wife, however, is furious and her anger is a frightening thing to behold. I know, because last month sometime we passed day 112 of daily angry emails blasting her husband and his new lady friend.
I want to be compassionate and supportive, but it’s becoming more and more difficult. We have had a few blow-outs, accusations of “taking sides” (we try to be Switzerland-like neutral) do not sit well with me nor does the constant barrage of nasty comments about her husband and his choices. M is generally better at this sort of drama, but she is down on men these days.
I understand she is hurting, but I am also familiar with the crazy she is exhibiting and my limitations in quality of friend and training to cope. If you are willing to seek help, professional help, to improve or stablize your situation, I am all in and right there with you. If you just want to be angry and mean and victimized, my compassion and patience have limits.
In desperation and frustration, I suggested she start blogging to find like-minded women who understood her point of view better than I do. She did, because my daily vitriol-filled emails suddenly ceased. Until today.
Today I get another angry email expressing frustration with how no one understands. Apparently the good folks in her version of blogville decided to get real and administer a dose of “tough love” in their comments. We, all those in the world who do not sympathize and suggest she do something help herself, are assholes.
So I did the smart thing and agreed that I am an asshole and am taking sides … with her soon-to-be-ex. It was a tough choice, because they have been good and solid friends for 15+ years. But enough is enough and I am done. My hope is that she hits bottom and realizes her hurting is not the only thing going on with the rest of us, and maybe gets some help. I will be cautiously open to welcoming her back to our home and our life, once she gets the crazy under control. M is supportive of this choice, says agrees it is the right thing to do, probably the only thing left to do, but I am sad and I feel a little guilty about it.