A Letter to Dawn

Dear Dawn,

You don’t know me, but yesterday, I went through your check out line at the grocery store.  My kids, and you only had the pleasure of meeting two of them, weren’t exactly at the top of their games, especially this one.  You may find this hard to believe, but she’s usually a pleasant little girl.  However, there is something about your store that turns her into, well, something like this.

Honestly, based on first impressions, I thought you were going to be annoyed with my children, specifically the one who wasn’t going quietly (read kicking and screaming) from the basket part of the cart, where I needed to load my bagged groceries.  She made quite a scene, even though there was a perfectly good place for her to sit in the car portion of one of your car carts, which she insisted we take, and promised she would stay in.  I know, I should know better than to trust a three year old.

But you didn’t get annoyed at them, or me, who (I believe you could sense) was at the end of my rope, after having pushed a gigantic cart, operating on only two wheels, around a gigantic store, with a moody three year old jumping in and out every time she saw something that appealed to her three year old senses.  Instead, in a rather brusque manner, that in no way matched what you were going to do, you motioned to my Little Lady to come join you behind the counter, saying, “Come on, honey.  Come over here and help me.”  To my surprise, not only did she stop crying, but she went and helped you, happily.

But you didn’t stop there.  Seeing that Second Son was seething from jealousy, which surprisingly, most people who fawn over my youngest, miss, you got him in on the game too, ordering him to load the groceries, that Little Lady bagged, into the cart.  Silly as it may sound, your actions almost moved me to tears (yes, it was that kind of shopping trip).

You didn’t make a big fuss about what you did, and I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t have said anything until I said, “Thank you for making check out much more pleasant.”

That’s when you said, in a very non-judgemental way, “I’m not having that in my line. No kid’s going to come through here crying.  I have two kids, I don’t near to hear kids screaming at work.  My kids didn’t run me, I ran them.  I put them to work.  If there was laundry to be folded, they helped me.  I didn’t care how they folded it, I just said, fold your clothes and put them away.  I’m a single mom, that’s the way it had to be.” (A single mom, by the way, who was younger than me.)  And then, you added, to the woman behind me, who had already joined in on our conversation, “They’re just looking for attention when they act like that, that’s all.”

So wise.

Then, knowing that the problem started with Little Lady not wanting to get in the car portion of the big ass cart that she insisted we take, you said in the same brusque manner, “Now, you, get inside that car and drive your mommy to the car.  And you,” you said looking at Second Son, “stay close to your mom, it’s the holidays and Lord knows those cars won’t stop for nothing.  They’ll mow you right over and think nothing of it.”

And they both did exactly as they were told, by you, a stranger, who works at Wegmans. I might as well have been dirt.

So, I just want to thank you, because your kindness, patience, and creativity, and most importantly, the whole non-judgemental way you handled the situation, not only made my grocery shopping pleasant (at least the end part), it helped me to preserve what little sanity I have left.

Dawn, Super Nanny’s got nothing on you.

The Less Than Perfect Parent

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