Tuesday, April 1, 2014

21st Century Mom

As I exited the moving sidewalk in Terminal E/IAH today, I glanced up and realized that an "unmanned" pram was careening straight for me. Actually, it wasn't unmanned.  It was being propelled by a little blond person, a female who may have been 3-5 years old.  In my shock, I stopped, seeing that she had her eyes dead on me and would surely avert a collision.  She didn't.  

I can't get past the "vacant" look in her eyes before, during and after our little meeting.  It convinced me that this was the child without consequences who seems to pervade the 21st century.

Expecting that any further interaction with a parent would result in my being the culpable party (WHEN did I become so cynical?), I began to be on my way, hoping to soon forget the incident.  One step and I heard a woman, obviously the mother, shout, "Catherine.  You stop right there."

She didn't say "Tony" but I stopped dead, nonetheless.  Here we go...

"Why did you do that?  You turn around and do the right thing!  Right now!  You apologize to that gentleman. ........" 

The "....." went on for a minute or two but I had already stopped hearing.  I couldn't believe that in our self-focused, age of no consequences that a young parent was actually about to teach an important lesson.  What could I do but help the poor, embarrassed mom, who I now noticed had an even smaller child perched on her hip?  Poor thing, she looked totally overwrought.  So, I turned full-face to my assailant and tried to look as glum and injured as i could without smiling or laughing.  OK, Catheirne.  You're on!

Poor little Catherine, on the verge of tears, sheepishly looked into my eyes and apologized sweetly, so  whole-heartedly.  I smiled and said, "Catherine, you are a very lucky little girl."

Then, I looked at the mom and said, "thank you for renewing my faith in parents."  Looking mystified, Catherine's mom smiled, said "thanks", adjusted Catherine's sibling on her hip and walked away.  

Catherine is a very lucky little girl, indeed.  I hope that the lessons her wonderful, hapless mom teach are richly rewarded.

The rest of us will certainly be the beneficiaries. 

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