Dear Grandma at Dorney Park yesterday,
I was trying to have a good time with my SO while our daughter was staying with her grandparents. We decided to go to an amusement park so we could ride everything we normally cannot since she is too little still. Of course, we spent half the time talking about how much she would have liked the park, and spent some more time/money winning her toys before we left. As we went to exit the park, I walked into the souvenir shop because I always get Hailey a magnet from everywhere we go. We approach the register to pay and a little boy between 7 and 8 goes ahead of us. My SO sighs, and I tell him to relax. I smile and remind him that 7 yr old boys are not usually paying attention to their immediate surroundings.
The little boy puts his things on the counter: A shark tooth necklace, a heart-shaped keychain for his mom, a mood ring, and a poop emoji pillow for his dad. The woman at the register begins ringing him up when I hear this ear piercing screech, “Where are you?! I have coupons, WE NEED TO USE THEM.” With that, an older woman comes trudging up to the register. That woman, was you. You said, “WHAT DID YOU GET?” and proceeded to grab through the thing she had on the counter. You grab the emoji pillow loudly exclaiming you aren’t wasting money on it, and put it back. He tries to explain that it’s for his dad, but you look at the rest of his things and seem to be okay with the purchases until the clerk puts the mood ring down. This is where it starts to get interesting. You ask how much the mood ring is, and then start screaming at this little boy. Let us keep in mind that a line has now formed, and we are all waiting on you to pay for your things, but you continue with your dramatics. You say no to the ring, but then you begin fighting him over it.
At this point, they opened another line, and I was standing right next to your grandson. I did not hear him say a word, and if he did he was extremely soft spoken, but you continue to yell at him over this ring. I see my SO staring at you, and I feel my heart breaking as you tell this SEVEN YEAR OLD BOY that he is a “little shit”. I immediately want to hold him, to tell him to ignore your hateful words. I look up at the clerk, who is trying not to look at you, and my heart says to ask how much his things are. Surely, I can pay for his necklace and mood ring, but my mouth doesn’t move because it is at this point you scream, “FINE, FINE have the ring, I just won’t get ANYTHING for myself, ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?!” As you fling a sweatshirt onto a nearby close rack. His little head is hanging low now, and I do not hear him speak, but I DO hear you loudly say, “I WISH YOU WOULD CRY, then I could spank your damn ass raw. I’ll beat you in front of all of these people, I don’t even care!” My head is spinning, and I still can’t think. I can’t speak. I want to say something to you, to this child. I want to show him a moment of kindness, and yet I’m frozen. I’m frozen listening to the hateful and angry words you are yelling into this poor child’s face. I’m frozen by your newly manicured fake nails, and you fake bleached hair that you could clearly pay to take care of, but you were resistant to get this child a $2 mood ring, and then tried to make him feel bad about it. You are at an amusement park with a child, and you willingly brought him to the souvenir shop to get something. Part of being a caretaker is sometimes NOT GETTING SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF so that they can have something instead. I will admit, however, that I’m unsure how his $2 ring was stopping you from getting a $35 hoodie. Maybe you should have just picked something else, but I digress.
I walked out of the shop, and I was full of anger. I told my SO I was appalled by your behavior. He said he wanted to punch you in the mouth. I was upset, and I thought about you and that little boy the entire 3 hour drive home. I thought about you again this morning. I couldn’t stop beating myself up over the fact that I didn’t DO anything. I didn’t speak up in a situation where I felt a huge injustice was taking place. I was upset that no one else did either. Everyone was uncomfortable. If you have been paying attention to anything other than yourself, you would have seen everyone staring and whispering in your direction, but I’m sure you don’t care. Just like you don’t care about that little boy.
This is how people treat children and then we wonder why they’re angry. Why they grow up full of hate and anger. Why they bully other kids, and why the think violence is the answer in stressful situations. THIS is what we teach them, and today my heart is heavy for this boy and all that he represents. Surely, we owe our children better than this, don’t we