Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge Oprah fan(you go girlfriend!). Throughout the years, she’s had different shows with different guests all with the same theme; when you get that weird feeling about a situation and the hair on the back of your neck stands up….run. She’s said it over and over and so have her guests. They all had similar stories and the same message…listen to your instincts and don’t worry about offending someone. Well, a situation happened to me when I was at Target just yesterday and I didn’t think it was a big deal at first, but then I got to thinking(Uh, oh! She’s THINKING again!).
I was in the Halloween costume aisle with my 3 year old. I usually have him walking right next to me or just a few feet ahead of me. For some reason, yesterday he was trailing me as we went up and down the aisles, arguing about whether he wanted to be a pirate(his idea) or a cutsie cowboy riding a stuffed horse(my idea). He was about 4 feet behind me, standing at the end of the aisle where it meets the cross aisle. It was one of those situations where I was looking the opposite direction, but I knew exactly where he was. I just turned my eyes off of him for 2 seconds and when I looked back, I saw him squatting down examining a costume, and an older gentleman standing there staring at him. He was in his late 50’s or early 60’s, had facial hair and was a bit overweight. He wasn’t smiling or scowling or had any sort of decipherable expression; he was staring blankly at Max. As soon as I saw this dude…you guessed it. The hair on the back of my neck stood straight out and I caught his eye as I called for my son. It would have been completely undetectable to any passer by…just two strangers who caught each others gaze. But for just a millisecond, we stared each other down. I don’t know what he was thinking, but the ever so slight expression in my eyes said, “Back the F*@k off.” Then, he broke our connection and just kept walking. No smile, no nod of acknowledgement, no look of surprise…..nothing.
Of course, I felt bad immediately after and entertained all of the other, more tame possibilities: he was looking past Max at a costume; he was tired and just had the stares; he was wondering what was so intriguing; he was just an asshole; he was just a harmless old man who’d just received death-beam rays shooting out of this crazy woman’s eyes for no apparent reason. Yes, I tried to justify them all, but kept coming back to the same conclusion: I had just stared down evil.
Why am I writing such a depressing and heavy post on this awesomely funny and light blog? Because this is a blog about being a mother and I know that we all do it. We all get relaxed a bit in public and allow our kids out of our sights for just a second or two…nobody wants to be that insane, overbearing mother who’s constantly screaming at her kid to “Get OVER here!” when the kid is like, 6 inches away. However, I think, in that moment, God sent me a little warning. Just a little red flag to remind me to keep a better eye on one of His children. Well, I heard ya, loud and clear and I hope that you all will keep your guards up and always listen to that little voice that says, “This doesn’t feel right.”