Recently I was at the market with my children, not just any market…we were at Walmart…the land of “weird”. Something happened that trip that will probably get me all fired up at the thought of it from now until forever…and made me realize that I’m ok being weird.
Here’s what happened…
Our trip started like any other usual trip to Walmart, the kids and I went into the store, snagged a decent cart, and set out to get our groceries. Since Devan, who is 6, is now a pretty decent reader he decided that he should practice his skills by reading as many package labels as he could…just the titles. I was happy, Micaela rolled her eyes, Julianne wasn’t interested, and Devan was excited. He proceeded with his reading in dramatic style like any Lacroix would do, but he was not being obnoxious….scout’s honor!
Three isles into our trip he was still going strong, and he was doing really well…multiple syllable words were rolling off his tongue, and he was still grinning ear to ear…very proud of himself, as was I. Then, it happened…a middle aged woman and two young women walked into our isle shopping together, they appeared to be a mom and two older daughters…but who knows, and just stared at Devan and what he was doing. We kept moving when I heard the older woman say to the younger women “what a weirdo” and one younger woman responded “homeschooling nut jobs”. Classy ladies, very classy!
Here’s the good news…my children didn’t hear this, the bad news…I did, and I wasn’t even a little bit happy about it. What to do, what to do…walk away and just let it be, confront the women and make a slight scene in front of the children and other patrons, grab my kids and leave the store upset disgusted at people in general and swear off Walmart forever….hmmmm, tough call. I didn’t take any of these roads, instead I paved my own slightly immature, passive-aggressive path. (And, yes, I know that I could have confronted the situation with a simple “That’s not very nice….good job practicing your reading, Devan”, but I was shocked and upset…and hopefully next time I’ll do better)
I’m not a very confrontational person, maybe 10 plus years ago I was, but I reserve direct confrontation for very important things, this was certainly not one of those things. Plus, I didn’t want my son’s feelings to be genuinely hurt, he didn’t hear what they said, and I wanted him to keep practicing his reading. However, I do believe that not confronting a bully is wrong. They need to be told what they are doing is not ok.
Since we had turned the corner already I thought the moment had passed and that this whole thing would just eat away at me, unresolved, and I would be left with daydreams of ‘coulda, woulda, shouldas’ but, then the women turned down the same isle from the opposite direction. We were going to be doing the grocery store isle tango the rest of the trip…so, my chance to confront was back. I did not keep quiet. Every time we passed these women I looked directly into one of their eyes and casually said “please excuse us…weirdos passing”, “excuse us, weirdos again”, “pardon us, weirdos coming through”, and other phrases like that. The tone was mild, but the intention was there. It didn’t attract the attention of other patrons, or my children, but it certainly got the attention of the ladies who cast their judgement on my child. After 5 isles of this going on, the older woman started to tear up and upon turning into the sixth isle and seeing us she quickly turned around with the other two young women and headed somewhere else in the store. My point was made, and I truly hope that these women got it.
I know that this was not the best choice… I warned ahead of time that the path I chose was the immature one…but, I’m not going to stay up at night regretting this. I didn’t make a scene, my children didn’t even notice what was going on, and these women were fully aware that what they said wasn’t called for…and I can admit that deep down I hope that they felt bad, too, and would choose to not say something mean when they feel the urge in the future.
The definition of weird is quite broad. But, if it is considered weird to encourage a child to read…then so be it! Here’s to us….Weird and Proud!
What would you have done?