I think about Stuff a lot – sometimes too much…One of the things that has been popping up unbidden in my head was one particular Saturday when I went to the grocery store.
At that point in time, both of my kids were small and I treasured my Time Alone in The Store. So there I was, strolling through the store, not being nagged by a child for their cookie or toy, when I came upon a mother and her four small children. One or more were in the cart and the one I remember the best – a thin little girl of about eight – was walking next to the cart. I thought to myself that she looked so very sad…so maybe I could help perk her up a bit. I said to the girl, “You must be such a big help to your mom!” The mother’s response seared my brain forever. It was just two little words. Three whole syllables. One wouldn’t think that those two words could hurt so much…The mother looked at her daughter with thinly veiled contempt and said, “Not really.” That was the extent of the conversation…and I have been sad for that poor girl ever since.
What I wanted to do was to rip the mother’s head off and shove it so far up her…you get the idea. I wanted to scream at her and ask her how she could be so unbelievably cruel. All of these things went racing through my head as I stood there, dumbfounded, as the mother walked away with those four children. I think of them often and I wonder how many of them wound up either pregnant or impregnating someone too young…and how many of them wound up being as cruel as their mother, or how many of them eventually wound up in jail because for their whole lives they were probably told how worthless their mother thought they were.
Bottom line…words hurt. They hurt a lot. Really, really, really a LOT. After that (well, before it, to be honest…but DEFINITELY after it!) I was always careful to say something positive to my kids and to the children of other moms…because words can hurt.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post, hosted by the ever-amazing Kristi Rieger Campbell of Finding Ninee.