An open letter to the teenagers at the Great Mall parking lot,
I’m that annoying person who took forever to drive out of the parking spot that you were eyeing yesterday. It’s the same every Sunday, isn’t it? It seems like everyone and their neighbor are at the mall. Naturally, empty parking spots are as dear as gold. I knew you were antsy. It probably was time for your movie and I wasn’t moving out.
The thing is, my 3-year-old and I had had a great time at the movies. We watched ‘Finding Dory’. She loved it, but she thought the movie was real. She was distraught that Dory got separated from her parents. In her tiny world, even a make-believe situation like that is like a calamity of astronomical proportions. Although all the blue tangs are reunited in the end, I could tell she was still a little shaken.
We got ice creams later. The cold treats seemed to numb her raw emotions a little. As we walked towards our car, I saw your cobalt blue Volkswagen pull up behind us. You were obviously trailing me to park in my spot after we left. I saw you drumming impatiently on the steering wheel while I tried to get my toddler into her car seat.
Remember how hot it was? The inside of the car felt like a furnace. I’m not sure if it was the movie or the heat, or the fact that she despises car seats, but my toddler chose that exact moment to throw a tantrum. I signaled to you that it would take me a little longer to get out of the spot. I even apologized. You were all clearly annoyed. You could have driven slightly farther, parked in another spot and walked a few extra steps to the theatre.
But hey, why walk when you can harass the exhausted mom struggling with a tiny dictator!
“One day, you will be me. You will struggle to get your strong-willed child to do something you want. One day, you will have teenagers enjoying your ordeal. I hope you remember me that day.”
Yes, I heard it. I heard every insinuating word you hurled at me. I heard the honks. Thank you for that, by the way. It didn’t calm my toddler at all. I heard your mocking laughter.
Here’s something you (probably) don’t know. Toddlers are little. They don’t get the concept of time. They don’t care if you’re late or if the world goes down in flames. All they want is whatever they want at that moment. All I needed was a few minutes to calm my little one down and get her into the car seat before driving off.
You’re teenagers, you’re hormonal and angry, I get it. I was a teenager once. But here’s another thing which you (probably) don’t know. One day, you will be me. You will struggle to get your strong-willed child to do something you want. One day, you will have teenagers enjoying your ordeal. I hope you remember me that day.
What I wanted to do was to walk over and give you a good piece of my mind. But I didn’t. Only because my daughter’s safety was more important than preaching life lessons to kids I don’t know. I could not have left the spot without securing her. That is what any mother in my place would have done.
I wasn’t having a great time with the sun burning my back, my toddler’s earth-shattering cries and your background noise. But I hope you remember my composure. Because that (if I may say so myself) is how you rock big girl pants. You’re welcome.
A version of this post was originally published at www.hemas-mixedbag.com