As we go through life we have experiences and chance encounters that can impact our moods, our thought patterns and even our life trajectory.
Can you look back in your life and identify monumental or subtle moments in your life that simply changed where you were headed? A parents divorce for example? The birth of a sibling? Or, the kindness of strangers?
I’m curious because recently I was in the grocery store, minding my own business, when some force of nature made me look up. There, not 10 feet in front of me, I saw a young girl spit in her mothers face. Yes, you read that right — she actually spit.
Now I’ve seen a lot of things in my life and this one actually stopped me in my tracks. I wanted to go over and slap the smug look off the kids face but that certainly wouldn’t be very Auntie-like of me and definitely wouldn’t solve anything. I just stared in stunned silence.
The mother looked straight at me (I suppose she saw me pick my jaw up off the floor) and pushed her cart closer. “See what I have to put up with,” she said cocking her head toward the young spitter.
She went on to say that her daughter, aged 13, had not been treating her with any respect lately and she was nearing the end of her rope.
The girl, with her long Bambi legs, towered over her mother who had two younger children (about five and six years old) in the shopping cart. She was a natural beauty with flawless skin, long full eyelashes that could hide her big round eyes, and she had gorgeous thick hair that framed her face perfectly. She looked older but it was evident by her behaviour that there was an immature nastiness hidden behind the beauty.
The two kids in the cart scrutinized their mom, their sister, and then me. They hadn’t said a word but were soaking in the whole experience, the reaction, and were aware of every word and movement — an obvious learning/teaching moment.
I surprised myself as I turned to the young girl and asked her point blank: “Why would you spit on your mom or anyone else for that matter?”
She appeared to be little dumbstruck that someone (especially a stranger) would actually ask her such thing. It was now her turn to pick her jaw up off the ground.
“I dunno,” she mumbled and shrugged, looking towards her mom.
“She’d mad at me because I told her no,” the mom answered.
“Wow, that is so sad,” I said. “Spitting is really ugly and so disrespectful. That behaviour is so unladylike and unbecoming that it makes you look like a spoiled child. Your mom deserves an apology,” I said as the mother nodded along.
The girl said she was sorry and moved closer to her mom. The kids in the cart, still silent, took it all in.
“It’s not OK to treat me like that. I’m your mom and I love you.” She pulled her daughter in for a hug.
The girl didn’t challenge or get snotty (which is hopefully a good sign) and it appeared that there was some remorse on her part. The girl listened as her mom unloaded everything at my feet, a complete stranger. I could tell that the girl was embarrassed and wanted to flee. I don’t blame her. By the time we parted she smiled and pushed the shopping cart with her mom.The whole encounter was maybe two minutes — a chance moment in time. ‘It makes me wonder if she’ll remember in 20 or 30 years the day in the grocery store and did it have any impact?
On a side note, the 10th Annual “Auntie Day” is on July 22. This is a day noted by the Saavy Auntie, Melanie Notkin, to celebrate Auntie and God-mothers. Call your Auntie and send some love her way. xoxo
Faye Arcand is a freelance writer living in the South Okanagan. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or fayeearcand.com