Things Here Are Not As They Seem

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Okay, so I have to tell a story about taking my 3 year old daughter, Stella, shopping. I promise there is a link to DMB, you just have to wait for it. But, if you've been reading my articles all of these years, you already knew that.

So, the other day, Stella and I went to Kohl's. This was rather a big deal for us, since the store is 45 minutes from our home. It was so far that Stella even fell asleep on the way there. We had made a deal though, that I was to wake her up in that event, so I did. We made it into the store, where I looked around for about 2 minutes, before heading to the dressing room. Since Stella was still pretty sleepy, I brought her into the huge room where she could sit comfortably in the shopping cart. But after about 30 seconds, she asked to get out of the cart and started making that face. You know, the poopy face. You see, Stella is pee-pee potty trained, but when it comes to poops, she prefers a diaper. Therefore, this was really not a good face for her to be making at that moment, because she was not wearing a diaper, and the closest one was out in my car, which was parked ridiculously far away.

But, I decided, I am a mom, I can handle this. So, we left the cart and the clothes in the dressing room and headed out into the store. I asked Stella to wait right by the door, and I instructed her not to move a muscle for anyone other than me. I was terrified to leave her there, but it seemed like the only option. And then I ran, like a cheetah, to the car. I passed elderly couples who surely thought that I was stealing something, I retrieved the diaper, and returned to the store. Stella saw me and said, "Is that you, Mommy?" I was thrilled that she was taking this situation so seriously.

After taking care of her "situation," I shopped for another 2.3 minutes, before heading back to the dressing room with Stella. She was complaining that we had left "her babies," which I finally deciphered meant the safety clips on our shopping cart. But when we entered the dressing room, all stalls were open except for the huge one. It had been inhabited by one single teenage girl. This seriously tested my ability to be a compassionate human being. Why does one young lady need the big room? She's alone! And not handicapped! Doesn't she realize that there are mothers who have driven 45 minutes, ran like cheetahs, changed poopy undies, and are sweaty and exhausted, and really need that room?!

And this is where Dave's lyrics came into play. I started thinking about "The Stone," and the line, "I was just wondering if you'd come along, hold up my head when my head won't hold on," and I realized that I have no idea where that girl is coming from. Maybe she has a tiny room at home and goes to Kohl's to feel glamorous. Or maybe she has a severe case of body dysmorphic disorder and thinks she can't fit into a smaller stall. Or maybe she is a mother of 6, out on her only free afternoon.

The truth is none of us really knows what anyone else is dealing with. People may look completely "fine" on the outside while battling torturous internal demons. Hence, I wasn't rude to this girl. I didn't even offer her one of my signature dirty looks. Instead, it was a wonderful opportunity for me to remember that above all things, if kindness if your king, then heaven will be yours, before you meet your end.

Hayley Bauman, Psy.D.