When Timmy woke up Friday morning, I knew that my day had suddenly become more complicated. I had been looking forward to playing Room Mom in Robby's class, bringing the Valentine's Day treats and overseeing the celebration. In addition to this commitment, I realized I was also going to have to squeeze in a trip to the pediatrician and pharmacy. Timmy's eyes were swollen shut, and he had a fever. My happy little crawler woke up as a snot smeared, crusty eye mess.
After packing up the car with the party supplies and dropping Robby at school, Timmy and I headed to the pediatrician. She diagnosed conjunctivitis, an ear infection and mild pneumonia. I knew that he was sick, but I didn't realize that he had so much going on.
Although we had only been out of the house for 90 minutes, Timmy had dissolved into an absolute mess. I tried to keep his nose wiped but found the task nearly impossible. Sitting in his car seat, he instinctively smeared the thick green buggers all over his face and hair. I tried to clean him off as much as possible, but he was so sick and he just didn't want to be bothered. Between the dried buggers and his crusty and swollen eyes, he certainly did not look picture perfect! At the moment my priority was getting him medicine, not making him presentable, so I proceeded straight to the pharmacy to pick up his medicine.
Even though I was well aware that Timmy looked disheveled, I was shocked when I was approached by a stranger in the prescription drop-off line. After a tap on my shoulder, I turned around to see the smirking face. "I don't mean to interfere but maybe if you washed your child every once in a while he wouldn't need medicine. Look at him. He is filthy. I assume you have had trouble taking care of yourself (stares and motions rudely at my leg), but please try to do better by your child ".
Initially I was shocked that somebody would be so brazen as to approach a Mom taking care of an obviously sick child. My shock morphed to anger as she continued to talk and smirk. I turned my back but she just didn't stop talking and berating Timmy's appearance. Without thinking, I instinctively leaned towards her and barked, "Lady, if you don't stop talking I'm going to rip your (expletive) face off."
Now face to face with the scrawny accuser, I felt emboldened and somehow knew that I was not going to stand down. She must have seen the ire in my eyes, because she forfeited her space in line behind me and walked away. I'm glad she heeded my warning because I honestly have no idea what I would have done if she continued to cast judgment!
The rest of the day was a blur of Valentine's festivities and caring for a sick Hamlet. I tried to push this encounter out of my mind, but it haunted me throughout the weekend. Every time I thought about the exchange I felt myself getting riled up again. I know that this lady, and I use that term only to describe her gender and not her demeanor, does not deserve my mental energy. Of course knowing something sometimes has little impact on feelings. I'm still angry when I think about it, and I suspect that I will remain this way for a long time. How dare she question my parenting abilities!