Had one of the Deer-in-the-Headlights-Mommy-Moments today.
I was standing in the check-out line at my beloved Costco, cell phone to ear, talking to Mike. Jairus, our 5 of 8, 9 years old, was at the other side of the cart, playing his hand held Nintendo DS. I had just started to put our groceries onto the conveyor.
Even while on the phone with Mike, I was aware of an older man behind us, complaining loudly about the length of the lines, the amount of time things were taking, his opinion that there were not enough checkers. While I do get a bit defensive of my beloved Costco, I refocused on my conversation with Mike and continued to unload my cart.
That is, until this man came stalking up to Jairus.
“Young man!” he barked. “Do you know what you should be doing? Huh? You should put away that d*** telephone and help your mom put groceries on the belt there!” Yelling. Harsh.
I was stunned.
But before I could think of what to do, Jairus took the lead.
“Sir,” he said, “you’re right.” And with that, he shut his DS, put it in his pocket and started helping me unload the cart.
And I stood there with my mouth hanging open.
Stunned that I hadn’t thought quick enough to intervene. Stunned that an adult, a stranger, would dare to say anything to my child who was simply, quietly standing in line. Stunned that he would use curse words. Stunned that he would presume to cross so many boundaries.
And as I stood there stunned, Jairus continued to engage the man in conversation, chatting about the day.
I finished paying for my groceries, taking my receipt, listening as the man began to harangue the checker. Jairus didn’t say anything about the experience as we made our way to the van, just walked alongside me, talking about books and movies and friends.
When we got in the van, I told him how proud I was of him. I apologized for not intervening quickly. And I told him how much maturity he showed, the example he set for me. Not that we should always allow people to charge past appropriate boundaries. But where I saw a cranky old geezer, Jairus saw an older person to whom he should show respect. Where I saw an irascible loud mouth, Jairus saw an opportunity to come up higher, to show greater patience. To bless.
And bless he did.
Both that mean old geezer.