Today in the grocery store I saw a girl, probably age 6 or 7, biting a bag of grapes. I was a bit surprised as I'd never seen anyone try to eat a grape that was still in the bag before. Then she bit a second bag, um, grape... Now, these grapes weren't in her mom's cart. They were on the display case with all the other bags of grapes and her mom was looking at something else, just 2 feet away, and didn't appear to see anything.
But here's what really surprised me. When I saw the girl biting the grapes, I didn't gasp in horror and wonder what in the world was wrong with that child or her irresponsible mother. I didn't agonize over whether I should alert the Produce Security Squad or point out, (graciously of course!), to the mom that her daughter was squishing grapes with her teeth in bags some unsuspecting person might buy in 5 minutes. You know what I did? I chuckled. And smiled. (HUH?????)
That was when it hit me. I have crossed some type of line. I don't know how or when it happened, but I'm not the same person I used to be. Instead of judging the grape girl and her mom, I knew how quickly even the best-behaved children can--without thinking--do the most illogical things. At that moment I was grateful my kids weren't the ones chomping on somebody else's grapes. Yes, I know it is a very sad thing for the poor consumer and I hope they thoroughly wash their grapes before they eat them (after throwing away any with teeth marks). And at this moment I'm surprised I walked away without intervening or saying anything.
I just think I've learned that I don't know what battles anybody else is fighting. The girl's mom could be in the middle of a divorce or working 2 jobs or dealing with illnesses or grief... or just might have been paying attention to shopping at that moment instead of her daughter. But it doesn't really matter. I've come to a point where I feel like all the moms of the world and I are in this battle together and I'm feeling so much more like cheering everybody else on than criticizing them for what I think they're doing wrong. Now, I grant you, that tomorrow I may be extremely frustrated with what some mother or father is doing or not doing with/for/to their child. But it was sweet that for that moment today I was able to walk away (with my kids following me an aisle or so behind) hoping nothing but the best for the grape muncher and her mother.