I'm a mama bear.
Ok, I'm a mama grizzly bear.
And sometimes, my, um, grizzliness (I know it's not a word...come on people) gets the best of me. Saturday mama grizzly bear showed up with a vengeance and there was no stopping it.
Each year a local town has a carnival to celebrate their community and it starts with a parade. I personally can take it or leave it when it comes to parades, but my kids are serious parade goers and so there was no stopping us...we had to go.
I took our little blanket and spread it out, all four kids sitting ever so nicely on it. We had just been to the farmers market and I bought a big ol' bag of kettle corn for them to eat at the parade, and so my kids were in heaven. Then the MC began to talk.
"Parents, please keep your children behind the yellow line - we do not want them to get hurt." My kids heard this and asked me if I had put our blanket behind the yellow line. They did not want to break the rules.
(OK, BEFORE I GO FURTHER, PLEASE LET ME CLARIFY THAT MY CHILDREN ARE IN FACT NOT PERFECT, BUT THIS DAY THEY WERE BEING EXCEPTIONAL - THANK GOD.)
I reassured them that we were right where we were supposed to be. And then parade began.
About twenty feet down from us was another family. A mom, three boys, and 2 girls. I don't know if they all actually belonged to her, but they were all with her - therefore being her responsibility. Right? Anyway, the mom lounged in her folding chair next to one of the girls and began to text.
Then the candy began to get thrown out. Her kids, which she was completely oblivious to, had not only crossed the yellow line, but were practically standing IN the parade. They were standing so close to the floats that the people were handing the candy right to them - no throwing was needed. Then the floats would go a few more feet, and throw out candy to my kids who dared not leave their blanket - because the MC told them not to (and I reaffirmed his message :) )
But soon, the boys from down the way, started taking their candy and then running in front of my children to get the candy that was thrown to them.
Not cool folks. Not cool.
After probably the second time, I looked at the oldest boy who was about 10 or 11 and said, "That's lousy dude. Come on, just be happy with your own candy." He looked at me as if he had never heard anyone tell him that was acting like a punk. Nice to meet you son.
But apparently since I must have been the first person who ever opposed his behavior and his mom or guardian or whatever she was could have cared less about them and obviously more about her phone - he didn't feel he needed to listen.
I suppose if I were him, I would think the same way.
I sat there trying to enjoy the excruciatingly long parade getting angrier and angrier at these little punks of kids when mama grizzly bared her claws.
My little Emma looked at me and said, "Mommy, I wish they would throw out suckers. I really want a sucker."
ONE MORE SIDE NOTE PEOPLE - I HATE CANDY. I HATE HAVING IT IN MY HOUSE. HOWEVER, THERE ARE TIMES, THERE ARE MOMENTS, WHEN A KID SHOULD HAVE CANDY. AND THIS WAS ONE OF THOSE MOMENTS.
Within seconds of her saying that a float threw a huge sucker right to her. She was thrilled. She bent over, picked it up in her newly 5 year old hand and then the punk 10 year old comes over and GRABS it right out of her hand.
I was angry. I was livid. I was so mad I wanted to walk over to that stupid lady and grab her phone out of her hand and throw it under a float.
And then they did it again. They ran in front of my kids and took their candy again. I lost it.
"GO TO YOUR MOM! GET YOUR OWN CANDY! LEAVE MY KIDS CANDY ALONE!!!"
Of course. The mom who is trying to teach her kids to respect authority, be kind, be courteous, be considerate to others - the mom who is trying to do the right thing - ends up looking like the crazy maniac. Of course.
Everyone around us heard me yell at the kid. Lovely.
But you know who didn't hear me yell at the kid?
She was busy. Texting.
Dave sent me away - essentially, he put me on time out (which I obviously needed, because I was about to go to jail for punching a mom in the face) and I went and sat behind everyone and tried to cool down.
And then I figured it out. I don't want my kids to get hurt. Obviously. But more than that, I don't want them to suffer injustice...whether it's over candy or their sex or their gender. I want their lives to be fair. Which, reasonably, their lives just wont be because that's how life is. Life is just not fair. They will learn it eventually - and maybe in the grand scheme of things, I should have calmed myself down and let that be a gentle first lesson in the unfairness of life. My kids were being so good, and although they were getting plenty of candy, the kids down the way who were being punks and jerks were getting so much more.
I guess the question isn't why do bad things happen to good people, it's more of why good things happen to bad people. And I was angry.
Also, I was angry at the mom because I get it. It would be so easy to be that mom. You know who I'm talking about. The mom who takes her kids to the park and sits on a bench and talks on her phone the entire time, oblivious to her kids needing her help across the monkey bars or her kids throwing sand in my kids faces, or her kids going the wrong way up the slides so no other kids can come down. The mom who uses public venues as a way of temporary escape, you know...that mom? I would love to take my kids to the parade, to the park, to the store and just tune out and go in la la land while my kids did whatever they wanted. Simply, because it's easier.
But for the sake of the people who have to deal with your children because you are not, get off your STUPID CELL PHONE!!!!! Pay attention to your kids. Show them that they are important. Show them that you care enough about them that you wont allow them to be punks. Show the people around you that you want to raise decent contributing members to society.
There are so many distractions every day, trying to vie for our time. We are constantly plugged in if we want to be...yet, so sadly unplugged from our kids.
Please put down your phones for awhile next time you take your kids to the park. Turn off Facebook long enough to help your kid build a sand castle or get across the monkey bars. Stop texting long enough to teach your kids a lesson in being considerate of others.
Being a parent is hard, but please, at least try.