As a rule, or fear, I have never been a very confrontational person. Oh but I do spend a lot of time fighting great battles in my head, always coming out on top of every argument, always having the perfect retort to every comment. The best part of this practice is I can even go back and edit both characters, so my perfect stinger gets better every time.
But in the end, I don’t feel any better. I haven’t won any real battles – just wasted valuable time and energy. Two things of which I have very limited resources.
My latest “mind” fight has been with some moms that I have to share the school parking lot with. These women, all of whom seem to drive the biggest of SUV’s and wear the smallest of yoga pants – and who are all without question raising children without physical disabilities who will grow to feel entitled.
One recent morning my 10 year old son and I pulled into the parking lot followed closely by the biggest offender. Finn saw my agitation and knew the background story of this woman actually yelling at me when I told her she had mistakenly parked int he handicap spot on morning. Actually yelled at me while I was pulling a walker from the back of my minivan. Clearly someone who feels the rules do not apply to them, and I was in the wrong.
“Why don’t you scream at her,” my son asked “why do you let her do whatever she wants?” I was torn. I tried to explain about “Taking The High Road”, about the fact that even if I did yell back at her, she was, in reality, never going to change. I know this as an adult. I have seen this type of person before, and I know the limits of trying to impose guilt on someone who is immune from it. We were never going to experience a huge altering of her personality int he school parking lot. She would drive away and never give me another thought – and I would be tortured all day. I knew what she was teaching her kids, as she took me down in front of them while I got a child with a disability out of my car. And I know what I want my kids to take away from this. Not to be a doormat, but to be better than that. Better than a school parking lot scream fest, able to turn the other cheek and move on. Move on to things that do matter, and people who do deserve our respect.
It is not an easy lesson, and I don’t know, as with most things, if I did it right on the parenting end. If the situation was different, and someone was hurting one of my kids, I don’t know that the high road wouldn’t be too high a climb for me. I hope I never have to find out!
Having heard this story before – I love how you have articulated your inner turmoil on handling it! Your blog is amazing!!
P.S. Congrats for taking the high road. Something not many people do these days!
Patty – you are truly a bigger woman than I am. In a situation like that I would have shown the kids my worst side and taught them how to throw a fit rather than be a lady. Your decision was the right one – you told her the truth about her parking decision and left her to live with her decision. I hope to meet you on the high road some day. I’m still working on that. Peace and Love