Then, BAM!! All of a sudden the quiet quickly comes to a screeching halt as some crazed, wild hair, red faced woman with an overflowing cart full of kids comes around the corner. A few kids are running off (escaping maybe, who knows) others are tearing those free coupons off the shelves, still others are begging for some sweet snack or treat that they never get, and even more are fighting and screaming their heads off in the cart. The mom (if you could call her that....) threatens, begs, borrows, steals, deals and bribes to no avail. She gets visibly frustrated and flustered, raising her voice now as well. You half expect her head to start spinning at any moment.
You stop, you stare....you don't want to, but you do. You quickly turn away when you realize she notices your look. You're inclined to say something...but what. Sympathetic? No way, why have all those kids if you can't control them? Funny? Um, can't think of anything. Rude, no, that's just plain not nice. Grateful that it is her and not you, nah, that could be mistaken for sympathy. Instead, you huff, you puff , roll your eyes a bit and just give the dirty look. Then you walk away.
Later, you meet up with her again while waiting by the check out counter. You wonder why she is headed directly for your line, until of course you realize that it's the shortest one. Greaaat, you think. Only much to your amazement...they are all working like little robots. An assembly line forms with each kid doing their part. One empties the cart, others put the groceries on the little conveyor belt, one helps bag their stuff and puts them into the cart. All well behaved, quiet and obviously following a routine. Oddly enough, the mom's hair is all kempt, her face isn't really all that red. Her eyes look warm and loving. Is this the same family, you think? Were you just imagining that she looked that way?? Feeling guilty for making a rash judgement on a woman you've never seen before, a family you don't know, you give the poor woman a compliment. You leave with a smile on your face. But, you don't dare turn around.