The Mean-ager

(His shirt says “Kind people are my kinda people.”)

We went to a park and two boys and a girl, all about 13 years old, were sitting and chatting in front of the entrance to the slide, subsequently blocking it from my son. I told Zach to ask them politely if he can use it.

He ran up, pointed, and asked if he could use the slide. The girl didn’t fully understand toddler English, and replied patronizingly, “Yeah, a slide!” The boys did and started getting up for him, to which she snapped, “I’m not getting up!”From the ground, I yelled up to them, “I told him to ask nicely.” She was huffy, but did. Zach and I thanked them, and the boys smiled and gave a hearty, “Yeah, no problem!” and the visibly irritated (and extremely pretty) girl sat back down. 

Now when a woman becomes a mother, she develops the superpower to destroy a girl down to her essence. As soon as they hand us our beautiful newborn daughters, we suddenly have the ability to plant seeds of shame and can water them throughout the years with guilt-trips. Had I yelled jokingly, “Hey! Move your butt! It’s blocking the slide,” she would have wondered if her butt was big, tried to convince herself that I didn’t mean it like that, but nevertheless, would have gone hungry the rest of the day. Had I asked, “Can you and your two boyfriends please move?” she would have wondered if I was saying “boy friends” or slut-shaming her. Had I simply said, “Okay.” and turned around, she would have wondered if everyone hates her and is too nice to say.

However, we have happened upon a phase in my life where I’m working on being less critical of others. I’m teaching my kids that we all make good and bad choices. The girl blocking the slide isn’t “bad”, rather, her choice to not move her butt was. Her stupid, lazy butt.  

My ultimate decision was picking Zach up and telling him, “Let’s go to a different park. This one is full.” With great powers comes great responsibility. I could have looked at her outfit and grimaced, but I chose not to. Not all superheroes wear underwear over their hosiery.