If you’re a parent, I hope you can relate in some small way, to the account I am about to share with you. If you aren’t a parent but hope to become one someday, you may want to look away because as my good friend, Hannah said, “hearing that story kinda made my uterus shrivel to the size of a raisin.” Enjoy.
I was anxiously boarding the plane sporting a Spider-Man bag, a computer bag, a large and very hot coffee, and the sign of a headache approaching. Following me onto the plane were my girls who were all very tired, slightly moody and not feeling so well from a fun and busy couple of days. We were heading home and we resembled that of hangry zombies because we were all too tired to even eat. We had all just popped a Dramamine, because of a terrible bout of motion sickness that I had experienced just four days prior. I was hopeful that the Dramamine would hold the power of two things: to keep us from getting motion sickness (because apparently, it is hereditary as Grace can’t be in any moving form of transportation for more than twenty minutes without throwing up) and sleep. I wanted us all to sleep on the two-and-a-half-hour flight home. The last thing I needed was a bunch of grumpy girls and a pile of work awaiting my arrival home.
We made it comfortably to our seats with Allie taking the window seat in hopes that if she didn’t sleep, the window would keep her somewhat entertained because if you don’t know Allie…well, she thinks she must be entertained by someone or something always. The window seat also kept her slightly contained because she knows no stranger.
As I got settled in my seat, I felt somewhat victorious. I had managed to get my girls in their seats without an argument, without spilled coffee and without Allie feeling the need to jump into the cockpit to push every imaginable button that caught her attention in a magnificent way when the pilot said hello to her. Right as I was taking a deep breath with closed eyes and a brief imaginary victory dance, I was catapulted out of my moment of silence by the following words that escaped my five-year-old’s mouth… “Do you ever brush your teeth?”
The following moments were like that scene in the movies when a lifetime of memories and thoughts flash across the screen within a few seconds. Every imaginable thought came to my mind. Some of which were…for the love of all things holy please tell me she isn’t speaking to the person I felt sink into their seat next to me; please tell me she IS talking to the imaginary friend I was unaware of; please for the love of my sanity tell me she isn’t speaking to another human being.
And then it happened…I opened my eyes and felt myself die…slowly and quietly. DEAD. Well I wasn’t dead, but I wanted to be when I opened my eyes and saw a woman sitting next to me with a look of horror and embarrassment on her face. This sweet, kind and gracious woman wasn’t blessed with the best teeth and my unfiltered daughter felt the need to point that out in front of everyone around us. I. WAS. HUMILIATED. In that moment, I didn’t know if I was supposed to apologize profusely to the woman, give Allie the evil eye that let her know I disapproved of her question, give her a life lesson, quietly, on how God makes each of us different and some things we say to people hurt them and it’s better left unsaid, or to get out of my seat waving the flag of defeat as I ask someone to see to it my daughters’ get home safely as I find a hole to crawl into…I was at a loss.
So, what did I do? Well, I looked at the woman and apologized profusely, then I gave Allie the evil eye that let her know I disapproved of her question and proceeded to give her a life lesson, quietly, on how God makes each of us different and some things we say to people hurt them and it’s better left unsaid.
Where in the heck is the parenting manual when you need one? Page 1256 titled, “What to Do When Your Child Says Something Humiliating to a Stranger.” Yeah, well, no manual exists. There should be a parental boot camp that we all must go through prior to becoming a parent. You know, a facility where we experience getting thrown up on when we are standing close to a toilet, where we walk through a mine field of Lego’s and where we are face to face with a stranger, moments after our children said something to them that is humiliating. Sometimes this parental journey is beautiful and magical and gives us the warm fuzzies and other times the journey causes slow proverbial deaths and it makes us question our ability to properly raise these little humans. So, cheers to the parents who have experienced slow proverbial deaths. Cheers to parents who take this journey knowing there is not a manual. And if you are the person on the receiving end of these unfiltered little beings who speak whatever comes to their curious minds, please don’t take it personal. I believe one of their jobs is to keep their parents humble.
I would like to report that Allie and this kind woman became instant best friends and spoke the entire flight home; Allie without so much as taking a breath.