Thursday, April 26, 2007

Helping Each Other Out

I went to Trader Joe's last week after getting back into town. Trying hard to get back into the groove of daily {normal} life, I took my time going up and down the isles. Ave is pretty good at relaxing in her little cart cover and I actually think she's overly content just watching people {think she might get this from me}.

It was in the cheese section of the store that I noticed a lonesome cart all by itself. Except inside was a 18 month {maybe 2} year old girl standing inside. What initially caught my attention was the movement in the cart. She was jumping in it, which made the cart shake back and forth. She got scared {of course} and quickly held onto the handlebars.

I was struck by two things. One, the cart seemed abandoned. Really. I scanned all around me and no mother/father/parent was anywhere in plain eyes view. I worried for a second until the mom came around the corner {apparently she had gone to the restroom in the back of the store}. We exchanged glances and I went back to my cheese selection.

I really don't want to judge, but what I saw next really affected me. Her daughter was tip-tapping the food {in the cart} with her toes when her mother hit {whacked?} her across the face. We do not touch the food in the cart! she berated.

I think I gasped. I was genuinely shocked that she would do that and felt extremely uncomfortable standing near her. I'm really not trying to judge the mom, but what took place was nothing, but something along the lines of abuse. The girl didn't shed a tear {maybe she was used to it?}, which suprised me because it was a hard {and loud} slap on the face. I ache for the little girl because she could not have known any better. So young!

My whole reason for sharing is because I feel I should have done something {anything} though I'm not sure what. Could I have done anything? Not sure, but I've thought about it a lot since that day last week and am left's times like these that I am left thinking we, as women are here to help each other with all our endeavors {motherhood, careerhood, womanhood etc}.


  1. A couple of thoughts: I think it's scary to react to situations like this...sometimes, for some of us. There's such a fine line between seemingly posing judgement and overstepping boundaries. But, although I'm pretty sure I would have done the same thing as you: watch, feel horrible, think about it a lot, but not "act", I think that protecting a child is always the RIGHT thing to do. I'm not so concerned about overstepping boundaries if it means that I might prevent pain or future pain.

    Thought #2: I worked at a adolescent treatment center for almost 2 1/2 years {a couple of years ago}. Because of our training in crisis prevention, etc, we had to sign a legal "contract" stating that if we ever saw any form of child abuse (including neglect, physical and emotional), we were obligated to report it. If you didn't feel comfortable confronting the "abuser", they suggested calling the police or notifying security.

    Thought #3: That mother could have taken offense if you chose to talk to her (or the little girl), but I'm guessing that that mother is in some form of crisis in her life. Maybe the best way to react is to approach her with help. "Are you okay. Is there something I can do to help you?" We've all had bad days. And we've probably all reacted in a bad way {although I hope hitting or leaving a little child alone for a long period of time is a RARITY). Offering help can't ever be wrong, can it?

    Good thoughts, Miss.

  2. very good suggestions Kelli. I wouldn't have known what to do and am glad that I haven't seen anything like that. Though Cory says he saw it all the time in the middle of night at Walmart where he worked nights as an electrician.

  3. thanks for the story. thought prevoking. and kelli's thoughts are right on, i think. As humans, brothers and sisters, and especially as WOMEN...we are obligated to protect eachother, especially when someone cant protect themselves...a child! however, i truly understand the fear of intruding. i witnessed something along the smae lines about a month ago that still haunts me. it was the father of a very beautiful (but very dirty) little girl. not more than 2. not only was he physical...he was yelling profanity at her like i have never heard. it was just part of his language. "sit your f**ing a** down before i beat you" type yelling. he was just behind me in line and i was scared. i didnt know what to do. infact, the girl wanted a banana i had and i wanted to give it to her so bad but was scared. it haunts me now. i cant believe i walked out. what i kept wanting to ask is if he wanted to place her with a nice family! i happen to have a firned who is trying to adopt and thought "why cant she have her? why this man!?!" but that probably wouldnt have een the best thing to say! i appreciate thought 2 of kelli's. tell someone else. while i was afraid for myself to say anthing to this man, i could have gone else where! what is this girl experiencing RIGHT NOW!?!? and i would have had so many other people to vouch for what i was saying. i counted anumber of people who were also uncomfortable by the scene and moved to a differnt line, farther away. none of us did anything!!!i wish i could just hold this girl and tell her i am so sorry. and do it differently. maybe if i keep going to the same store i will see them again and have the chance to do something?
    but i firmly agree with thought 3. though i was afraid of this man, in most instances you arent afraid of the parent...and HELPING them would be perfect. i refuse to believe that anyone out there wants to be a mean parent. infact, they probably go to bed each night hating themselves (weather they realize it or not!). a smile and helping hand. a "what a cute little girl you have, your so lucky!"...something.

    i hope i never do nothing again.

  4. I think we have to resolve the issues for ourselves as individuals and not project them on our kids or not make our kids the consequence of our anger or dissatisfaction.

  5. I really like Kelli's thoughts, especially thought #3.


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