Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Hey, Even Mama Bears Have Feelings

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This afternoon I realized we were out of milk. We’re all sick and DH is out of town, but the world would spin off its axis if this household were ever without milk (no fruity pebbles! no hot cocoa! the horror!), so I had no choice but to de-pajama everyone and run to the store.

Fever apparently has a calming effect because they were angels at the store, listening (miracle) and just sort of meekly following me around as I grabbed the essentials - you know, milk and shampoo and chocolate.

We stopped in the Christmas aisle where I let them hang out for a while, pushing every button on every dancing, singing, bum shaking Christmas “decoration” they could find. (Who actually buys those things? I can't believe the market for those monstrosities is so vast, and yet they appear to be a huge profit center, since every grocery store and corner market on earth carries them.) I idly watched as some teenage girls, young and dumb and having a blast, pushed each other around in carts, squealing and laughing.

The blond girl pushing the cart popped a wheelie while the brunette girl inside the cart shrieked in protest. I kept thinking that if the cart tipped over, that girl was going to crack her head open and whatever brains were actually in there would leak out all over the floor. Clean up in aisle seven, stat.

When my head was ready to explode we got our caravan moving again, with Carter inside the cart and the girls holding onto either side as they walked. We steered toward a check-out lane and WHAM. The teenage girls came out of nowhere, ramming their cart smack into Abby at full speed, knocking her flat and pushing Sarah over for good measure.

I immediately went into full mama bear mode and yelled at the twits as I picked up my sobbing little girls. “What are you DOING?! This isn’t a playground, GROW UP!”

Abby had a nice purple lattice mark engraved on her face (that deepened over the course of the afternoon into a rich, rough bruise) and a pinched finger, but Sarah seemed none the worse for wear, just a little shocked and upset.

“Is there something I can do? Are they alright? I’m so sorry,” the blond babbled on and on and ON. I shot her a dirty look thinking, NO, you idiot, there’s nothing you can do. You’ve done enough.

After a minute or two of hugs, Sarah and Abby calmed down, and tears wiped away, we stood up. Somewhat impressively, the teenagers were still standing there, waiting to take their medicine.

I cocked my head to the side and put a hand on my hip, ready to let loose a few choice, cutting words of reprimand – my unfortunate specialty. I narrowed in on the cart driver.

She had tears in her eyes. I softened a little. She clearly felt awful about what had been, after all, an accident.

“Can I do something?” she asked plaintively. “What can I do? I’m so sorry.” She crouched down next to Abby and said, “I’m so sorry.”

As I tried to figure out what the right thing to say would be, something that would satisfy my maternal anger without completely crossing the line, Abby took over. She apparently had things SHE wanted to say and she drew herself up to her full four year old height.

Tears dripped out of her big green eyes as she looked at the girl accusingly. “You made me fall down,” she said shakily, holding my hand.

The injustice of the accident was too much for her to take and she started to cry again, her words punctuated with little sobs.

“Now--” (sob) “I’m - I’m all hurt—“ (sob) “THAT. WASN’T. NICE—“ (sob) “You shouldn’t hit—“ (sob) “people with a cart!”

She tucked her head against my coat and cried in earnest.

The teenager burst into tears. For a minute I thought she might dissolve into a sad little puddle right there in front of me.

Abby looked at the girl somberly for a minute. She nodded, then looked up at me and whispered, “Mom, she’s sorry now. You should give her a love.” She pushed me forward a little.

And that’s how I ended up hugging a random teenager at Smiths today.

69 comments:

  1. Abbey is too cute! Glad everyone is OK now.

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  2. I love this story!
    I'm sooo glad the girls were remorseful. You hear too many stories today about teenage punks not caring about their actions. And I'm glad you tamed the mama bear (but I would have been very tempted to eat them alive!) and I'm glad your baby bears are okay. How sweet!

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  3. I am so happy you said something.

    And I'm so happy that those girls still had enough heart to feel remorseful.

    I love a mama bear incident.

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  4. I don't know whether to laugh or cry!

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  5. Abby sure is a sweet little girl. :)

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  6. So, I have no idea who you are, but found a comment of yours on sally's site...anyways, you even had my tears going with this post...

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  7. That is such a sweet story. LOVE it!!! Thanks for sharing!

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  8. Sue...you have the sweetest children! My heart just melted into a puddle, too...

    "...you should give her a love"

    Heidi :)

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  9. Oh wow, I wonder if those girls know how lucky they are. The mama bear could have eaten them alive.

    But seriously, I think they learned their lesson and your little girl was wise beyond her years. I'm glad the girls are okay. That was quite a trip to get some milk.

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  10. What a sweet, precious story! (even though someone was injured...)

    I'm new here. Love your Blog!

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  11. Too adorable. It's so true. You shouldn't hit people with a cart.

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  12. This makes me smile and tear up at the same time. Your daughter was so sweet about it.

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  13. We hang out in the Christmas aisle, too. My kids beg to go there.

    Teenage girls having fun - don't worry, there weren't currently any brains to go splat. None whatsoever.

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  14. Ooh. Wow. I'm so sorry about poor Abbey. Bless her heart. You have such a sweet heart. I would have so pulled a mama bear on them, too. That's a great story.

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  15. that is absolutely precious. best story i've heard all week.

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  16. giavanna8:29 AM

    That is so sweet! I love the way that your little girl was brave enough to say how she felt, a lot of kids would have been too shy! That's so cute that she had you give the teen a hug too! Can't beat that, almost a win, win at the end!

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  17. Awww. Moms are moms forever, even when the kid isn't yours. I am just glad Abbey is okay, that could have been much worse.

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  18. What a wonderful story. I hope your little one is feeling better.

    That older girl is going to remember thie for the rest of her life.

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  19. You made me cry. Jerk.

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  20. Awww!! What a great story!! I'm glad the teenagers were remorseful, though. Shows that not all teenagers are terrible...just thoughtless!!

    Abby is such a sweetheart!!

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  21. Wow. I think Abby handled that very well. What a sweetie! You also handled that well. I probably would have just let it rip and made things worse. Those girls will think twice before doing something stupid like that again.

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  22. Oh Sue, as the mom of three teenage girls, I have to say thank-you for giving them the hugs. Yep they're brainless, clueless, and immature.

    But they clearly understood that what they had done was unacceptable, and what you did taught them so much more than anything you could have said.

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  23. Oh man, I remember doing stupid stuff like that as a teen...I love that somehow you've instilled in Abby the ability to stick up for herself.

    We were talking about this very thing with our 3 year old after an incident with some mean boys at the playground.

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  24. this gave me chills. I am glad the teenagers were complete jerks about it. How nice...little love goes a long way!

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  25. OK edit my previous comment,

    I am glad the teenagers WEREN'T complete jerks about it...damn, I need some love, I can't type today.

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  26. Huh. First I got all sad and then I laughed, and then because I was teary and laughing, I snorted. At work. I HOPE you're happy!

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  27. What an amazing kid...and good for you for fighting that mother bear instinct long enough to hug that poor silly teenage girl!

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  28. Fine. Now I am more than a little in love with you that you DID hug some random teenager in Smiths today! How cool of a mother are YOU that even a little kid knows how it works... to show forth an increase of love after you chastise with sharpness.

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  29. oooh Abbey, I want to squeeze her and watch Dora together or something. I have my own Abby niece and oddly they look quite bit a like. Good for her for being able to speak her mind, I see big things ahead for this little blondie!

    And I think that's the problem with teenagers today, they don't get enough hugs.

    Let's start a movement, hugs for the dysfunctional.

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  30. That is such an adorable story. And those girls are remarkable! Not all of them are like that.

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  31. Anonymous11:19 AM

    When I was a "young and dumb" teenager I was playing with the other neighborhood kids in a windstorm and accidentally broke my five year old neighbor's arm. Her mother was the ER doctor.

    After resetting her daughter's arm, she came out to the waiting room. I'm sure that she meant to chew me out, but she saw me sobbing. She gave me a hug.

    Her compassion turned a horrible moment in my life into an important lesson in responsibility. I'm sure you did the same for those teenage girls.

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  32. Wow. You (and your girl) handled that very well. I'm glad the girls didn't up and run off.

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  33. Oh, Abby is a sweetie! You did good mama bear.

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  34. And that. . is how love is demonstrated.

    Way to go mom!

    Think about it. We all make terrible mistakes, sometimes on purpose (not understanding the consequences), but sometimes just out of ignorance, being young, not thinking things through, etc.

    Those girls and your children will never forget your response.

    We all are taught by example.

    Big hug and a smooch to your little girl.

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  35. Awesome story. I cried a bit at the end. I hope you get better soon!

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  36. Good for Abbey! And good for that teenager.

    But especially good for the Mom who listened to her daughter and gave the teenager some love. Probably exactly what she needed at the time.

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  37. What a sweet story, even if there was a little pain and suffering. The photo is ADORABLE.

    I know who buys all those dancing, butt shaking Christmas decorations -- there's a house near me (but not TOO near) that puts out tens of thousands of lights every year and they have a wee cottage just filled with all those dancing, butt shaking Christmas things.

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  38. Great Story! At least you depajamaed them!

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  39. That sure was a sweet incident. It so could have been worse. I am glad you girls were not hurt badly.

    I know some random lady ran into my son at Target the other day and she had the nerve to snap at me to leash my kids next time. I nearly punched her.

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  40. Oh my gosh...this story is so sad for everyone involved. The girls got hurt, which hurts the mom worse, and those teenage girls will be shaken up for days.
    I'm glad you huggged her...I don't think she needed any more reprimands. She's probably still crying at home today.
    Glad everyone is ok. Teenagers are so stupid.

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  41. I don't know why, but this made me tear up. Maybe it was how brave your sweet Abby was to say something like that.

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  42. Such a sweet story and it ended just like I was hoping!

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  43. Ah, Sue. This is a great post. I hope the girls are both okay. I think you handled this perfectly and I'm glad the girls showed remorse for their stupid and thoughtless acts. And I also think it's good that they got a little reminder that they aren't the only people alive in this world--it seems to be a growing epidemic that most people think they are the only ones on the road or in a store or whatever. Ya did good.

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  44. That is awesome. Way to be the bigger person, Mom! And I would have had a tough time not flying off the handle had one of my children gotten hurt - wow you showed some amazing self restraint, and it was the right thing to do in this situation.

    And bless your boo-boo'd babies!

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  45. How much better would the world be if we were all forced to hug a punk teenager each day?

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  46. That is the cutest picture of sweet Abby!!! I am glad that your girls are okay. I immediately got mad at those teenage girls while reading your post. I'm not even the mama but just the aunt and those protective feelings are still there. It sounded like you handled it well and those teenage girls will never be the same.

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  47. Ah, teenagers. Don't you remember acting like a complete idiot?

    I TOTALLY was an idiot. We used to hide pregnancy tests in each others carts when we went shopping. We thought we were so funny. . .

    You were just right to give her a hug. Even idiots deserve a little mama bear love.

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  48. OH MY GOSH. This was gorgeous. I read it out loud to my husband and HE loved it.

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  49. You've taught your daughter well =)

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  50. Wow. Great post!

    I'm not sure I would have handled it as well as you did...not that I'm any more protective but just because....I'M PSYCHO. HAHAHAHA!

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  51. Wow, good story. My friend McLacey's been telling me to read your blog for the funnies, then you and I got in a fight about temples, then I came on over to check it out. Glad I did!

    I think we should ALL talk like four-year-olds. I mean, for the love, if someone hits you with a grocery cart you probably ought to tell them what's up.

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  52. What a sweet story! Now I have tears!

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  53. Everyone already said it in their comments: kudos to your girl for speaking up for herself; kudos to mom for pausing in her righteous anger which gave her daughter the chance to speak; and kudos to the teenagers who may be two less narcissistic people in this world after a lesson well learned. So glad no one needed a visit to the ER.
    Also -- I am one of those hapless owners of those bum-wagging noise makers. Except that my two preschoolers love them and they proved minutes and minutes of entertainment. And in my defense, the ones I have were gifts.

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  54. I am proud of you both. What a great lesson in compassion and forgiveness, and from a four-year-old! Evidence of wonderful parenting by you and your hubby. Thank you for posting it.
    I hope you are all feeling better and can enjoy the holidays ahead.

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  55. I have a feeling I'm going to see this in the "Latter-Day Saint Journal" section of the Ensign in about 20 years. "The little girl told her mom she should hug me. Then she did. That day I learned a great lesson about forgiveness and love and Chirstlike behavior..."

    Yep, you're so going to be talked about in the Ensign.

    Hope you guys are feeling better. Next time, though, order the milk online and have the grocery store deliver it.

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  56. oops, that should say "CHRISTlike behavior", not Chirstlike. I mean, maybe Chirst is a good person, but not quite the one we're aiming for.

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  57. *wiping away a tear* This was such a great post on so many different levels. Must gather myself...

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  58. that was really kind of you. your poor little girl. she was eager to forgive and wanted you to also.

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  59. My mother buys animated bum-waggers. Then she tries to give them to me because she has too many. "Would you like some of these to decorate your house?" Ummmm, no. But thanks, Mom. I don't want to hurt her feelings with the whole truth, so I just tell her I don't have room to store them. (Which is also true.)

    Yay for you and your little one...but yay, too, for the teenage girls for staying there and not skulking off in shame. That takes a lot of guts to stick around and face the punishment--especially from an angry mama bear.

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  60. Only you could write such a hilarious tearjerker.

    I am impressed at your reserve! Question: If Abbey hadn't told you to "give her a love", what do you think you would've done? I'm just surprised you didn't start swearing. I guess you DO live in Utah...oh, and maybe you don't swear.

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  61. Nicki - what a good question. I probably would have just told them to be more careful next time, to watch what they were doing. I'm no saint at ALL, (and I've definitely been known to let a few choice swear words fly when I'm upset - hey, don't forget I was raised in Vegas ;>) but I wouldn't have yelled at them, not at that point. They looked so pitiful and upset. They really were full of remorse, it was obvious.

    I was so so impressed that they didn't try to play it off, or make excuses, or make a joke out of it. They were good kids. Just - acting stupid. As teenagers will. (Man, I feel so old, referring to teenagers as kids.)

    Now if they hadn't been as sorry as they were? I would have chased them out of the store.

    My kids are a good influence on me. Hard not to at least try to live up to what they think of you. I may not always be a great person, but they THINK I am. They remind me what I SHOULD be. What I should be trying to be. Abby was just looking up at me, all expectantly like, of COURSE you're gonna give her a love.

    Kids are pretty swell all the way around.

    Thanks for all of the kind comments you guys. You're the best.

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  62. Awwwwww, that was so sweet. All the way around. Excellent post. Yes, it's great those girls knew to stick around and take their medicine. Kind of gives me a little hope for the future of our country when they do that instead of just shrugging and leaving.

    And good for you, Mama Bear, for not only maintaining maternal decorum, but for training your little girl to be kind enough to recognize a sincere apology and to want to give loves. Sooooo sweet.

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  63. I think that "remember" is such and important word...

    We were all punk kids at some point and we all did things we wouldn't look kindly upon today, but that is where we need to remember...

    and then we forgive... great story!

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  64. Good for you. I'll bet it wasn't easy to give the girl a hug, but it sounds like it's just what she needed. And you taught your daughter an invaluable lesson.

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  65. What a great story. I love that she made you hug her. Really, that is just awesome. She let her have it, but she forgave her.

    I'm impressed that the girls stuck around for the can of [kick-butt] opening. And so we all get the happy ending. *sigh*

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  66. You made me cry too.

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  67. Oh my gosh! That is one of the funniest I've read yet. Truly. The way you wrote it, I felt like I was there, and I was feeling each emotion you were. Bravo!

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  68. Where would we be without our kids?

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  69. That was a really cute story, but I totally BUSTED OUT (there are little spittles on my screen, for real) laughing at the very last line.

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