Life and Laughter – Judge and juryJun 11, 2021 10:04AM ● By Peri Kinder
Before COVID, when the hubbie and I used to travel, I’d book us in places that provided breakfast, because I love me a good breakfast buffet.
At one hotel, the breakfast bar offered freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and I couldn’t resist. I don’t usually drink fruit juice because it has so much sugar, which is hilarious because I have no problem downing an entire box of Milk Duds.
Anyway. I poured myself a cup of beautiful, pink grapefruit juice and was walking back to our table when a herd of unruly children came dashing around the corner and crashed into me, spilling grapefruit juice all over my shirt and the floor.
I stood there dripping and waiting for an apology that never came. The monsters ran past me to fill their plates with bacon. I eyed them scornfully, poured more juice and put on my Hat of Judgement.
What kind of mother lets her kids douse perfect strangers with grapefruit juice? What heathen had failed to teach these kids manners?
I got back to my table and told my husband to move so I could take his seat because he had a better view of the dining room. I needed to see the parents of these miscreants and judge them accordingly.
If anyone can sip grapefruit juice with disdain, I can. I sipped and glared with malicious intent. Through narrowed eyes, I watched the kids eat all the bacon, touch all the bananas, grab several muffins and gallop back to their table, where their mom sat staring at her phone.
My judgement level increased. This neglectful mother didn’t realize her childish baboons were running amok; she had no idea they spilled juice all over me, and she was too involved in her social media and texting to be a good mother.
Verdict rendered. Guilty as charged. Gavel pounded.
Oh, it felt good to be so superior.
But then my stupid brain stepped in.
“Ahem,” it said politely because it doesn’t like to cause trouble. “Perhaps you’re being a bit harsh.”
“Shut up, brain. I’m busy.”
Instead of shutting up, my brain brought up a memory of my daughters. We were at an all-you-can-eat-buffet and the girls were not sitting like civilized humans. They were fighting, dropping food all over the floor, running back for seconds and thirds, and taking every single brownie from the dessert bar.
They were animals. And I just sat there, so happy for the break from making dinner.
I’d been that mom I was judging. My daughters had often run amok. If I’d had a cell phone when my kids were little, I would have been on that phone all the damn time. I slowly removed my Hat of Judgement and reevaluated the current situation.
I turned to my husband and said, “It’s just juice. They’re just kids. She’s just a mom.”
He didn’t know what I was talking about, but he chewed his bacon, nodded, and said, “That’s good.”
Suddenly, I was teary-eyed and felt a camaraderie with this mother. She was in the trenches, doing her very best. Aren’t we all?
The more I practice dropping judgement, the easier my life is. It’s exhausting calling out everyone’s behavior. There are better ways to spend my time, like drinking fresh grapefruit juice and remembering when my kids were wild animals.