Some school mornings, I walk LittleMan to kindergarten. Other days it is My Mukor who walks him, but today it was me. Usually, when it is my turn, [using a deep weatherman voice] there is a high probability of LittleMan not making it on time! [end voice]
I seem to have a hard time exercising, showering, getting LittleMan to dress appropriately, getting breakfast ready, getting children to eat breakfast, brushing children's teeth, brushing LittleMan's hair, getting self dressed, getting hair blow-dried, and making LittleMan's school lunch all in a 2 hour time frame. Almost every time I have to take him to school, one of these steps is skipped or done half-heartedly otherwise we are late. Who knows how many teeth are actually brushed when I have LittleMan do it himself? LittleMan hates cheese and all they are serving at school for lunch is grilled cheese and pizza, but oh well! Here is a dollar for the hot lunch I'm going to act like I know nothing about.
He's 6 - he'll get over it. I probably won't, but he will.
This morning, as the gates were closing at the school just as we dashed through them, I was congratulating myself on getting LittleMan to school on time today. (Note: My hair was wet, and LittleMan didn't have a sacked lunch.) I was walking home from LittleMan's school a little later than usual, when I noticed one of our neighbors leaving his home for his routine walk.
Most of the time, I miss running into this particular neighbor since I usually get back to my home a lot sooner than today, but I was waylaid by several parents wanting to compare notes on the parent-teacher conferences. Whatever - the point is I realized, as I was getting ready to pass him that I was a little anxious about him. You see, he looks like a cross-between Billy Bob Thorton from Sling Blade and a lumberjack.
When we first moved into this home about 4 years ago, I was walking around the neighborhood with BoopaLoop in a stroller and LittleMan greeted this neighbor by saying, "HI!". The man didn't seem to hear him, so LittleMan said it again much louder, and the man's step hitched, but he continued by us without looking at us. At the time, I was both annoyed and relieved - his... affect made my mommy's radar go off.
Now, why is that? Because he is possibly an introvert? Because he is possibly developmentally disabled? What has this man done to warrant my fear and mistrust? But, then I was thinking of how stupid I would look if it turned out that this man was violent, and I tempted fate by walking near him with small children. Wouldn't most of society say, "Well, she should have known better to pass a man looking like that!"
Now, back to this morning.
So here I was alone, in the light of morning, in a quiet neighborhood, when my neighbor realized that I was walking a faster pace than he was, I guess, since he stopped and turned to let me pass him by. Trying to ignore my fear, I maintained my pace and smiled at him. He smiled back and said, "Hey ya." He was very calm, his eyes were kind, and he was being a gentleman.
Shame on me.
Don't get me wrong - I fully intend to teach my children that you teach people how you want to be treated, so dress accordingly (please don't get me started about how the youth are dressed like prisoner-escapees). But, this man had done nothing but try to appear harmless, and I judged him for that. He was wearing a clean, plaid shirt and clean, brown, corduroy pants. He hadn't shaved in forever, but it looked brushed. Why wouldn't it be?
I'm not really certain what lesson I've learned from this. Yes, a mother's instinct is critical. Yes, you should keep your children out of harm's way.
But perhaps I need to use a little wisdom before condemning someone to the chainsaw massacre hive.