Thursday, June 7, 2012

Close Encounters of the Grumpy Old Man Kind

I'm learning quickly how to plan my entire life around Kailyn's schedule, wants, needs, and preferences. She's becoming more predictable, so I am able to loosely plan my work, chores, and fun in her "down time." But sometimes there are things you just HAVE to do, and a crying baby tends to be the result when it's all said and done.

I found myself in this situation the other night. I had driven 25 miles to the Verizon store, had waited patiently for over an hour, and was next in line. An older man had come in behind us and sat down nearby. He was a typical old man. Polyester pants a little too short, plaid socks, loafers, shirt tucked, glasses, bald head, and a screwed up old face. He literally looked like a mean old fart.

A few minutes later, it started. The fussing. At first she was just having little fits of grunts and snorts. Soon it was all-out crying. I knew she was hungry and tired, but I was not about to forfeit my place in line that I had waited SO! LONG! to keep. Not sure what to do, I started for the door. I was becoming anxious, knowing how a crying baby irritates people in public.

As I pushed the door to open it, the old man called to me.

"Ma'am!" he said in his gruffy old man voice. I was ready to rip his head off. "Ma'am, don't take that baby outside, it's too hot."

I stood with my mouth agape. I was speechless. How DARE he tell me it was too hot outside. It wasn't that bad. I had to do SOMETHING besides let her cry right there in the store. Thoughts raced through my head in milliseconds, but before I could muster any words, he spoke again.

"That baby isn't bothering anybody, and it's hot. You just keep her in here," he said gently. I raised my eyebrows at him.

"Are you sure?" I asked him (disregarding the fact that there were ten other people present).

He straightened his posture and piped up, "Anybody in here bothered by this baby?" A few shook their heads no. "Didn't think so!" he replied loudly. And I had to smile.

"Thank you," I said sincerely.

"Honey, my son is forty six years old, and I can tell you I'd rather listen to that little baby than his big mouth any day. She's tired of waiting; we all are. You don't worry about her."

So I waited it out. She fussed the whole time, and I know it was irritating because even I was flustered by the time we left, but we got our business done, and I saw that there IS such a thing as a non-grumpy old fart :) I also realized that not all people get angry and frustrated. I would've expected (and quietly ignored) dirty looks and sighs of exasperation, but what I got was acceptance and support. Several made comments to me as we waited about knowing what it's like to be a mom, understanding that it takes a lot to care for a newborn, and mostly, they all agreed that they MISSED that new baby time so much and encouraged me to enjoy every minute, even the stressful ones, before they are gone.

Looking down at my six-year-old baby girl, I decided they are right.

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