Last week when I went to pick up Big A from her gymnastics practice at 7:00 p.m., I was informed that there was a parent's meeting, that night, at a local hotel conference room, at 7:15. In a panic I called her dad, did he know anything about it, was he coming? He had forgotten to tell me, and no, he couldn't make it. I looked at Little A, all pink and perfect in her pajamas and at Big A, who was near a panic attack at the thought of neither of her parents attending. We got in the car and headed to the hotel. While driving, I was praying that Little A would make it through--she goes to bed at 7, and she needs to be in bed at 7, or else she gets a little wacky.
We got there, and I stood in the back of the room w/Little A while Big A went and played with her friends at the play area. I let Little A down in the back of the room to crawl around. She was enjoying demonstrating her great crawling abilities and I followed behind her as she wore herself out. She was being near saintly--not making a peep, just crawling. As we turned around and headed back to the other side of the room, there were two moms sitting on a couch, the volunteers that checked us in. One of them looked at Little A and than at the other and said, "I guess someone's never heard of a babysitter".
I'm not sure if it was because Eviction Day was the next day, or if it was because I'd been up since 4:15 a.m. and was exhausted, or because I was just so stunned that someone could be so bitchy, but I instantly felt the sting of tears in my eyes and picked up Little A and headed out the door. To the other mom's credit, she turned beet red when she realized that I'd heard her. I kept myself semi-composed until we got to the car, then I lost it.
Yes, I've heard of babysitters, they spend more time with my children than I do, and I actually pay them to do this. I've also heard of deadbeat dads, exhaustion, being at the end of your rope, and I've also heard of practicing kindness and empathy, apparently all topics that she missed. I wasn't proud that someone so little made me feel so small, but she did.
I went through the conversation that I would have with her the next time that I saw her:
"Do you know that I went home that night and cried all night"?
"Do you know that on that night, a night I could have used an ounce of kindness more than you could ever know, I could barely drive home because I was crying so hard"?
I won't have any of these conversations with her, I know this about myself, because I genuinely believe that for a person to treat another with such disregard and judgment, they must be pretty miserable themselves. And I'd hate the thought of me causing someone to walk blindly to their car in the rain and put their head on their steering wheel and sob like a baby in front of their children. That's what helps me sleep at night, even if I fall asleep crying.