Photo by: iStock

To the Mommy in Aisle 7 at Target: Relax! I Wasn't Judging You

by Linda of "Elleroy Was Here"
Photo by: iStock

To the mother in the school supply aisle at Target this Wednesday afternoon, yes, it’s me, the woman who did a 180 when you shouted at your daughter. I just wanted to say that I wasn’t judging you. You simply scared the bejezus out of me.

You see, I don’t eavesdrop. And even if I did, I’d have chosen a more interesting conversation. No offense. But I’d really rather follow that lady in housewares who’s engaging in urgent cell phone discourse about what so-n-so said about such-n-such, and whether she should spring for the teflon coated muffin tin. Because that’s a good time.

Your squabble over the virtues of the #2 pencil? Not so much.

And anyway, I usually drown out my surroundings with ear buds jammed in and turned up to a reality muting decibel level.

Actually, I was just losing myself in the astounding array of pencil sharpener hues now available to us – all for under a dollar. We’re so lucky to be alive right now.

In the midst of making the earth shattering executive decision as to whether the blue or green would best enhance my son’s supply ensemble, I was jolted from my Zen-like meditation by your daughter repeatedly calling, "Mom… Mom… Mom… Mom… MOM!!!

Three things entered my consciousness:

1. Why, for the love of GOD will you not ANSWER the kid, MOM??!!

2. Jeezus… I finally leave the house ALONE and I’m still being socked in the gut by the mere utterance of the maternal wail. It’s like hearing a baby cry and suddenly your blouse is soaked.

3. Give it up kid. She’s not answering.

Then suddenly, in a sudden flash of unsurpassed exasperation, your reply.


Girl. I been there.

And yes, yes, I did spin around instantly and turn my head with a wide eyed look that said “WTF just hit me?”

It’s just that it was jarring. One moment I was lost in a spiral of notebooks and pink erasers, and the next, I was trapped in a domestic cacophony.

It was a reaction. I swear I wasn’t being judgy. I wasn’t thinking “I’m a way better mother than you!” I wasn’t even thinking that you were some kind of nut case or anything.

I just startle easily.

But in that moment our eyes locked, and I thought “Shit!” luckily, instead of being pissed at me for noticing, you were kind of mortified. Of course if I’d had the presence of mind, I would have simply smiled knowingly, or just said “Hey, we’ve all been there.” But I didn’t. I did the quick whip around.

I was all too happy to just let it go. I thought you were too. But when, after a full five minutes, our paths crossed again next to the hole punchers, you addressed your kid in a voice loud enough for me to enjoy… in the next state over… and by this time, completely out of context, “You know… Mommy is sorry she yelled at you. Because you know I would never do that. You just kept calling me and I answered and you kept calling me… and I have a slight headache… and… I’m sorry. You know Mommy’s sorry… right?”

And then you looked at me. I just kept thinking “don’t look…don’t look at her…look at the erasers…not at her…you don’t notice she’s there…erasers….erasers….they’re up on top…you have to look up….” And that’s when it happened. Our eyes locked. “Mommy’s really, really sorry. You know that, right?”

I know that. So can we move on? Can I just grab a pack of freaking erasers and move on?

Has the media scared the piss out of everybody to the point that they’re worried that CPS will be called or that John Quinones will step out from behind the BBQ grills with a full camera crew?

I smiled and headed over to the crayons.

Thought balloon: “Burnt umber…classic!….but what is that really? Wow! And now they have key lime? No fair! These kids have all the good stuff.”

Then it continued…

“Because Mommy didn’t mean to embarrass you in public! I’m just tired. You know I would never yell at you in public, right?”

“Mom…what are you talking about? It’s no big deal. Can we get the Justin Beiber folders?”

“Mommy just wants you to know that she loves you and she would never say anything to hurt you.”

I slowly and cautiously look up and turn my head. She’s looking at me.

Thought balloon: “Do I say anything? It’s too late… this is weird… seriously… LET IT GO, LADY!”

I decide to cut and run. It’s not worth it to stay and price out Crayolas if it means I’m going to be treated to act four of Mommy Dearest: No #2 Pencils EVER!

I ditch the crayons and disappear behind the fruit snacks to the fading strains of…

“Mommy looovvvessss yooouuu…”

Linda Roy is a humorist/writer/musician who blogs at elleroy was here She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two boys, and fronts the Indie Americana band Jehova Waitresses. She’s Managing Partner and Editor-in-Chief at Lefty Pop. Her writing has appeared in The Huffington Post, In the Powder Room, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, Aiming Low, Mamapedia, Midlife Boulevard, Bon Bon Break, and The Weeklings. She was named a 2014 BlogHer Voice Of the Year.

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