Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Back in the Grocery Store

While we're doing grocery store memories, something else comes to mind. One day, when the boys were a little older, I took all three of them into the store. I was picking up kids from school. Tighe was a junior, Jeremy was a 7th grader, and Ben was a 3rd grader. I remember this only because of the circumstances below. They were going to three different schools at the time, and I had picked everyone up, which was an involved process, and still had to make a quick run for groceries before making dinner that night.

On our way into the store closest to the high school, we happened to see the president of the PTA coming out. She wasn't someone I approved of very much. Her attitude and mine conflicted in one very major way. She had chewed me out for missing a PTA meeting because Tighe had a baseball game that conflicted with the meeting. It was an away game, and I wasn't back in time for "her" meeting. As editor of the PTA newspaper, I felt that I could get the information I needed without being present for the meeting. If someone wanted something in the paper, they could call me or bring an article to me at the baseball field or drop it in my mailbox. I wasn't that hard to find. She told me, in no uncertain terms, that I had to be there. "You're doing this for your son!" I told her, "That's right. I do this for my son, not in spite of him. When he has a game, I'm there for him. I can't have someone phone in the score for me." She just never could understand that.

Our discussion and the missed meeting had been months before, and our relationship was now professional if not cordial. She stopped us as we entered, gave me some dates and times, which I wrote down, and asked some questions, which I answered. She finally pushed her cart out into the parking lot, and we entered the store. One of the boys, I think it was Tighe, looked at me with an awed expression on his face. I noted that the other two seemed to be also looking at me rather strangely. "Wow, Mom. You really don't like her, do you?"

I was so embarrassed I could have fallen through the floor. I was so sure I had treated her with respect and courtesy! "Did it show?" I asked. "Yeah. You were so polite!"

I had to laugh. In my family, you tease people you like. There's joking and laughter, jests and humor. The total politeness that you give to a professional colleague you must deal with (but would rather not) was something my boys had never before seen, at least from me.

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