Trying to load the kids into the car this afternoon; Arik, as usual, is being a right little shit about it. I had opened his door and very carefully rested it against the mirror of the car beside us (this was actually a conscious decision, as it’ll do significantly less damage that way if my little punk manages to get a leg free enough to kick the door…) As I’m struggling with him, a guy comes walking up and is clearly the owner of the car beside us.
I say to him (in Norwegian), rather cheerily despite the on-going battle with my son, “Oh, sorry, you’re probably looking to get into your car, aren’t you? One sec!”
He snarks back at me, “I really don’t appreciate you doing that to my car!”
I was confused for a moment and then realised he was referring to my car door resting against the back of his mirror. To be fair, if I were in his shoes, I’d probably have been irritated, too. But I was doing the best I could with a kicking, writhing, (screaming-at-the-top-of-his-lungs) toddler.
I sighed and muttered that I was being very careful, moved the door out a bit (praying that Arik wouldn’t manage a successful kick) and then continued loading the tyrant. I finally get Arik in (and the turd has the audacity to give me an impish grin, as if we’ve been buds this whole time) and move to get Linnea in the car next.
The guy starts walking back towards me and I turn warily, expecting I’m about to get reamed out.
“Sorry I was rude to you. I can see you’re doing the best you can and you didn’t do anything to my car.”
Huh? I looked up at him, surprised, and then started to stammer out an explanation as to why any part of my vehicle was touching any part of his vehicle…
“It’s ok. I shouldn’t have gotten mad at you.”
I thanked him and told him I really appreciated him saying that and then went back to loading my other munchkin, trying not to cry. Go figure, I didn’t cry when he’s being unpleasant and then he takes pity on the struggling mom and I’m suddenly not only struggling with monkey kids, I’m struggling with potential water works, too.
I did appreciate it though. It was kind of him to cut me some slack and show some empathy. Many of us – myself included – are quick to judge and perhaps not so quick to admit when we overreact. I didn’t damage his vehicle, but I can understand why he wasn’t pleased to see my car door bumped up against his. And who knows what else had happened in his day up to that point? He could easily have gotten into his car and driven away without saying another word to me. Maybe he would’ve felt a bit regretful at snapping at me, but that wouldn’t have helped me much. Or my kids, who likely would’ve had to deal with a snippy mother for the rest of the evening.
Kindness goes a long way.