Everyone needs a moment of recovery … everyone, especially the mother of a teenager. A teenage girl that is.
They’re a special bunch, and you see I wasn’t even looking for an opportunity to spread some Christmas cheer, but when a teenager and her diva sass make an appearance the opportunity sort of presents itself.
There I was at the 99 Cent Store buying some festive glitter action for the holiday season. When I began placing my items on the conveyor belt, I saw her walking across the store and stand next to the lady behind me.
The exasperated sigh.
I turned to smile at the lady who had just given me a compliment on one of Christmas centerpieces I was purchasing. She stood there with a giant sky blue CareBear and fuzzy socks.
“Hello? What are you doing! What’s wrong with you? Didn’t you see me over there?” the teenager said waving her arms. “I was next! I was next! Why don’t you ever answer when I call you? I was calling you. Why don’t you ever answer? I was next and here you are standing in line doing nothing. What’s a matter with you?”
The mom didn’t even blink. She held her tongue as the rant continued.
“Ugh! Whatever.” The teenager finally said “Forget this. I’m gonna go wait in the car!”
I stood there while everyone looked on wide-eyed and surprised. I smiled at her and nodded. She looked back at me and grinned. I felt for her, I knew what it was like to be on that end of the teenager wrath as I had met a few of them during my teaching tenure in middle schools and high schools.
I was aware of this emotional and dramatic mood swing beast. I didn’t stand there in judgement. I had a 4-year-old daughter that would eventually be a teenager as well. I knew the beast may be in my future.
So as she stood there having her moment, trying to breathe and just survive the holiday season at a busy store the clerk rang up her purchases.
I dug inside my pocket.
“I got that for you,” I said as she was still a little zoned out.
I paid the clerk for her items and finished bagging mine. After a minute she seemed to realize what had just happened.
“No,no, no. You can’t do that. I got it, I got it.” She said.
“No,” I said. “Looks like you had a tough moment waiting in line, you need a little good. You need a good story today. Merry Christmas.”
As I walked away, she tried catching up in order to give me some money, but I assured her that everything was good. She smiled and thanked me after I turned down her money for the fourth time.
She was a having a moment, a mom moment, and I knew what those were like and how they felt. I knew the look of defeat, it’s hit me plenty of times in private and in public. And I also knew she needed a little kindness and a little grace. I knew that something small could help turn things around. So I decided to be that something small.
It felt good to surprise her, to see my small act of kindness touch her heart. I might not have changed her life, but I hoped I had changed her story that day. Sometimes all it takes is something small.