Last week I was walking into our local grocery store when an older woman was pulling out in her crown victoria.
"Hey, watch it!" I shouted, a baby on my hips and tightly holding onto my three-year-old's hand.
She kept moving, slowly, and I yelled again.
"Watch where you're going! I have two kids here!"
She stopped, but didn't acknowledge that she saw me and talked to me through a closed window. I walked to her window and said again,
"Please watch where you're going. I have two kids with me."
"You were in my blind spot! People have a blind spot, ya know?!" She finally cracked the top of the window.
What was I going to do, jump in after her?
I walked away, fuming inwardly as my mama-bear nearly awoke after a long winter's nap. The double doors opened at the grocery store and what should await me but a lovely green mermaid. It was a day for a Pumpkin Spice Latte. The kids wheeled in the little car-cart and I had a little air to breath, get some groceries and sip on my warm latte. And finish it before it was cold. I felt much better after the coffee pick me up.
"Hey! Watch where you're going! I have two kids here!"
to which he replied.
"Sorry, I didn't see you."
"Well, watch out!"
My jaw literally dropped and my heart sunk. I don't often call people out in public (that's my hubby's least favorite activity. Did not used to be mine.) but the one time I really had, with my kids, Jack heard the whole thing. Not just heard it, but remembered it and not just remembered it, but replayed it with his toy cars.
What else am I saying that he's mirroring? What other negative, complaining and hurtful things do I say that he takes in and saves for later?
These little people are sponges. I knew it before, but now I see it again and again. They mimic everything we do. Which is kind of cute, but kind of-really intimidating as well.
I don't want to mess my kid up any more than I have to. Words are powerful. Looks and attitudes and tones affect people far longer than we think and I'm reminded (and humbled) once again that I need to watch what I say, how I act and the attitude that lingers long after I thought he'd notice.
So since that day, since I allowed my attitude to come out like a bear in spring, I've noticed it with other people. With the old people who shoot dirty looks at toddlers at a Wendy's on a Wednesday afternoon, with fast drivers that don't come to a complete stop at the stop sign, and with my husband who isn't coming out to the car fast enough. This entitled attitude that wants to say a lot of things that aren't very nice.
But that's not who I want to be, or who Jesus wants me to be....or who I long for our kids to be.
It's a tough job, this whole mama business. They watch everything we do and while we're allowed to be human and are far from perfect, it still settles in the back my mind. What version of me do I want him to mirror? The entitled, annoyed version of myself or the new creation, Jesus filled version? Because I don't think Jesus would have yelled at anyone in the parking lot (even if they were kind of close to backing up over them.)
Which then leads me to wonder...who do I want to be? Who do I want to mirror? I read this from a friend and it's my heart's prayer.
I have been reached out to, so I should reach out.
I have been shown mercy, so I should be merciful.
I have been forgiven, so I should forgive.
I have been loved, so I should love.
I have been humbled, so I should serve.
I have been included in the family of God, so I should include others in His family.
I have been taken care of, so I should take care of.
I have been shown truth, so I should share truth.
I am made new, so I should make new.
I have died and risen again with new, eternal life, so I should not fear, not even death.