I almost throat-punched a little kid yesterday. Okay, if I’m going to be totally honest, I almost throat-punched a few kids yesterday. Of course, I didn’t because I quickly remembered I am a grown-ass woman that has a good 90 pounds on those whippersnappers and I didn’t want to leave in handcuffs.
Let me back up and set the scenario, so you don’t think I’m just a violent hot-head that goes around picking fights.
I had taken my 3-year-old son to a splash park that’s in close proximity to our house and is possibly one of the coolest splash pad/water parks I’ve ever had the liberty of visiting. It’s inexpensive, has tons of slides, water games, and activities for little kids, and you can sneak beer on the grounds. I say I go for my son, but let’s be honest – it’s really an excuse for me to get a tan, get a slight buzz, and let my kid wander free without the threat of drowning or losing him.
Now, I’ve gone to enough kid-related activities and events to know that most kids (by nature) are inconsiderate d***heads. My son is no different. He is a toddler, which means his understanding and awareness of his surroundings is pretty much non-existent. In other words, it’s pretty tough to teach a little kid patience when there are a bunch of shiny objects and fun activities just begging to be explored and played with. But even though I’m equipped with the knowledge that developmental minds are simply trying to establish dominance and independence, it doesn’t make it any easier to exhibit patience when a little a-hole pushes his way past you in line while you’re waiting for your turn for a ride or slide.
Now, if it had just been ME waiting in line for one of the big slides (which admittedly would be borderline creepy, seeing as the park is designed for young kids), I probably would give a little allowance to the impatient tots trying to sneak their way to the front. But I was there with my son, and that’s when “protective mama bear” started to surface.
I consider grabbing these little monsters by the back of their bathing suits and snapping them back to their proper position in line. I consider using my body as a barricade to prevent them from getting by. Hell, I even considered tattling on them to the lifeguard because apparently when I get around young kids, I act like one myself. Of course, shy of just verbally reminding them they are “cutting,” there isn’t a whole lot I could do. Half of them aren’t listening anyway because I’m not their parent and they know I’m not going to throw them off the three-story platform (albeit, the thought DID cross my mind).
I found myself getting irritable, wondering where their parents were and why they hadn’t taught their children basic manners and respect. And that irritation turned into annoyance and anger, and I suddenly realized I had gone from a happy, carefree mood into a mood that was completely unconducive to being at a waterpark on a sunny Saturday afternoon with my favorite little man.
Moral of the story: People are asshats – all the way from one-years-old to 99-years-old. They aren’t just rude at waterparks. They are at the grocery store, sitting beside you in rush hour traffic, playing on their phone while sitting on the gym machine you want to use, not putting their shopping carts away, and leaving trash in public areas because they can’t be bothered to find the nearest trash can.
Save for actually rereminding these people or making a scene, there isn’t a whole lot you can do regarding their behavior. What you do have control over is how you react to it; how you let it affect your mood and your time with loved ones.
Once I realized how irrationally reactive I was being, I checked myself and made a point to not let some toddler trying to cut in line ruin my day. When all is said and done, it maybe shaved 30 seconds off our time — those 30 seconds is nothing in the long run. Instead, I watched my son patiently stomp in the water as he waited his turn. I enjoyed those extra seconds of sunshine and sipped on my Yeti tumbler full of beer (cuz, again, I’m classy like that).
Bottom line: Life is a cumulation of all these little periods of time in which we’re waiting for big things to happen. And because we spend so much time anticipating the big stuff (while also being angry about the little stuff), we miss out on a lot of the important stuff. Just remember to breathe deep, enjoy the moment, and not let strangers govern your emotions.
But sometimes, a well-deserved throat-punch is totally worth the consequences.