Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Yesterday I was in line at the store waiting to check out.

"Sit," said a woman behind me, in a stern voice.

I turned and saw two adorable blond-haired, blue-eyed children, a boy and girl, in the child's portion of a grocery cart.

"Sit," the woman commanded again.

A lover of children, I cooed at them, then said to the mother, "How old are they? They're so cute."

"They're both two."

"Oh, then they're twins?"

She nodded, not cracking a smile.

"My niece had twins last week, and they're a boy and a girl."

"Sit," she said.

The twins were squirming.

I started talking to the tiny little girl, telling her how pretty she was, how pretty her big blue eyes were.

She pointed to her eyes and said, "Eyes."

I continued talking and cooing to the children, but the mother was stone-faced. I noticed the children were far below their age level in talking and pronunciation. No wonder, I thought, with a mother like that. All she can deliver is a stern edict. She's not even interacting with them. Doesn't she realize how a mother's supposed to be? How a mother's supposed to treat her children? L-O-V-I-N-G-L-Y?

"They're a gift from God, you know?" I said.

She looked uninterested and shrugged then turned away.

I felt so bad inside for those children as I waited in line and kept hearing her bark out orders to sit. I thought of all the women with empty arms, and here, this woman had two precious children, and it appeared she had no motherly love. As I expected, they got bored and started whining, and then I felt really bad--irked, even. Didn't she know you're supposed to provide snacks for little children in waiting situations? And maybe a book--even read to them? Or give them a favorite toy? Apparently, she had no parenting skills whatsoever.

It was my turn to get checked out. I turned around and told her to go ahead of me. She didn't even thank me, just pushed her buggy around me.

Seconds after she reached the cash register and talked with the cashier, she muttered an angry, "This isn't my day!" and stormed off in a huff.

"What was that all about?" I asked the cashier.

"She wanted to cash a check, and it was missing a signature."

As I drove home, I thought, That certainly wasn't a Christian love story. Christ's love is patient and kind and longsuffering, and it isn't rude or easily angered (1 Corinthians 13, the famous "Love Chapter"). Oh, I know a mother can get harried. I've been to the grocery store lately with my daughter who has a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old. But this lady had deep problems, and my heart ached for her, and for her children.

"Lord, wherever this young mother is right now, bless her. Encourage her. Show her Your love. Equip her to care for these precious little souls. Take care of them. Protect them. Keep them in Your love and watchful care. Amen."


At 1:08 PM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

It's sad to see that, huh? She's missing so much. Maybe they weren't hers. Maybe she was just babysitting. We can hope.

At 1:55 PM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

No, they were hers. After I got home, I wished I'd talked seriously with her about God, parenting, etc.

I've done that before. I was in the drugstore at the prescription counter a few months ago, and saw a retarded boy (maybe 8 or 9) with his father. The boy would wiggle out of his father's grasp around his wrists and run through the store and the father would drag him back to the prescription area shouting at him. Everybody waiting for their prescriptions was appalled and shocked. Finally, I went over to them and started talking soothingly to the boy and also gave advice to the father. I told him I'd be praying for him. They both had big problems. I felt so sorry for them. I thought the father might be drug-addicted. Not sure.


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