Saturday, October 29, 2011

An Unholy Parking Lot Showdown As An Angry Mom

Let me begin by saying that I am pretty well tempered, it has taken time and a little (or more than a little) therapy but I rarely get angry! I am human so I get annoyed, I get snarky (in fact that is more a state of being for me), I get hurt but it is rare that I get rage in my belly, chest constricting angry.

This week, I participated in a parking lot showdown that would have made the Real Housewives of New Jersey Reunion look like coffee between Ghandi and the Dali Lama.

In one moment, I went from a happy mom singing with my Bean as I pushed her in a shopping cart to an angry mom with visions of police and jail time being the only thing that kept me from acting on my anger.

The Bean and I were at the craft store picking out stickers, we were singing in the aisles and when we checked out we began to make our way to the car. We were crossing the parking lot, in a crosswalk when an SUV driven by a woman on a cell phone shot around a bus missing the cart that the Bean was riding in by inches. The Bus driver wailed on her horn and another pedestrian began to yell at the truck as I yanked the Bean backwards.

As pedestrians made sure we were ok, I stared in righteous anger at that car. She pulled into a space a few feet from us and when I began to walk towards her, she pulled back out and moved to the other side of the parking lot. I froze in place, my blood boiling as I watched her cross the parking lot but then I took a deep breath and I proceeded to my own car and loaded up the Bean.

Once we were in the car, I pulled out and crossed the parking lot to her new parking space. She was still in the car, so I put my blinker on and I got out and walked to her window. She was texting and gave me the “just a minute” finger without looking up. I waited. I don’t know what I was going to say. I was most definitely going to be snarky, probably more than a little passive aggressive.

I wanted to make her feel badly, I wanted an apology.

What happened was anything but what I was expecting. Suddenly she swung her door open and came out swinging, not physically but verbally. As her door opened she yelled, “I knew you would have to find me, I knew you looked like a vindictive B**** and would have something to say”.

WHOA! Cue belly rumbling Mama Bear rage. What happened to starting with, “I am so sorry I almost hit your daughter”? I mean wasn’t I supposed to be the one that was yelling? I let loose with a verbal beat down as Bean watched Elmo happily in the backseat and parking lot gapers gathered.

The entire altercation lasted a minute or so but felt like an hour. I finally got into my car and watched her walking towards the store from my rear view mirror. I wanted to chase after her, I wanted to shake her like a rag doll for the apology I knew I deserved. Then I saw the Bean looking back at me from her mirror and I realized that there was nothing more important than my daughter. I realized that I did not need an apology, I just needed to get my daughter home and be the example to her that I could be proud of.

It was not my most refined mother moment. I do not like being an angry mom and I certainly do not like acting like an out of control angry mom in the middle of a parking lot. As I drove away, I called my husband (on my hands free) his voice and his words calmed me.

As I retold my story and vented over my indignation he grounded me and reminded me of all the reasons he is my perfect match.

While my angry mom episode was not my proudest moment, it reminded me that I am on my phone far too much in the car. It reminded me that I do not ever want to be on the other side of an angry mom parking lot incident. It reminded me to leave my phone zipped in the bag while I drive.

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