We met in the shallow end of the pool.
Six-year-old Jett and I were having a fine little talk about life and school. He had a big smile with no front teeth and he giggled all the time. He wanted to show me his cannonball so I said, “Go for it. I’d love to watch!”
The little guy jumped out of the pool, made sure my eyes were on him, tucked his legs in tightly and hit the water with a huge smack! From the other end of the room came a piercing scream, “Jett, I told you not to splash people in the pool!” A woman rolled off her lounge chair and started stomping towards us. I don’t know how Jett felt but I sure was afraid!
Jett looked at me, rolled his eyes and said, “I wish YOU were my mom but you look more like my Nana.”
I wanted to laugh but I wasn’t sure what was about to go down so a smile sufficed at that moment. Mom arrived at our end of the pool and I took a big breath in. I knew I wanted to come to Jett’s defence but Mom spoke first.
“Jett, you make me so mad. I bring you to this nice place and all you do is disobey. We’re never coming here again.” She turned to me and muttered a quick apology.
“No need to apologize at all. Jett and I were having a great time together. I asked him to show me his cannonball and being splashed is part of the fun. Didn’t bother me at all. In fact, I hope Jett and I can play together a little longer.”
Well, that was NOT what Mom wanted to hear.
“I don’t appreciate you undermining my authority. Jett, get out of the pool now.”
Reluctantly, with tears in his eyes, Jett climbed out of the pool. Mom wrapped a towel around him and angrily pointed to the other end of the room. “Now, go sit down on the chair. I’ll deal with you later.”
Apparently, she wasn’t finished with me.
“Obviously, you’ve never been a mother. What I say goes with MY son. Not what YOU tell him.”
With that, the woman turned around and headed back to Jett.
Immediately, I thought of this video below that someone had recently posted on FB.
Well, maybe not immediately…
…because I wanted to retaliate but I’ve never been good at quick comebacks. For that, I am thankful… and a few seconds later, I thought of this video.
“People are like garbage trucks. They run around with garbage – full of disappointment, full of frustration, full of anger. And when the garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it. Sometimes, they dump it on you. But you know what? You don’t take it personally.”
The taxi driver in the video responds. He doesn’t react.
“You wave, smile, you wish them well and you move on.”
I didn’t get a chance to wave, smile or wish this woman well. But I did move on. In fact, I totally forgot about the incident by the time I got back to the hotel room so I didn’t even tell Chris about it.
I have learned that I don’t always have to make my point or be understood. One of life’s greatest lessons for me has been to be secure in being misunderstood. This truth has helped me tremendously.
Love doesn’t retaliate. This was a battle I didn’t need to win. I didn’t even need to enter it.
There is always another way. It’s called the high road.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13. 4,5