Blame / by Susie Lubell

image from Picard Creative

I had a crazy preschool mom experience this morning that left me so livid I almost kicked the woman and her sorry kid. I was completely blindsided. I don't even know where to begin. And I'll just warn you up front that I may come across as an absolute bitch in the post but I'm fine with that. The story must get out. The truth must be told.

I had just dropped off my son and was walking to my daughter's class with a friend who's also a teacher there and the mom of one of my son's good friends. We were planning for today's play date chez moi. We were actually in the middle of a conversation when a woman approached, someone who I have seen around many times, someone who back in September I had overheard while sitting at Starbucks with a friend and thought to myself, I hope to god this woman's son is not in my son's class. Because that's the thing, I notice everything. And mostly no one ever notices me. This actually plays into part of the story. I ALWAYS notice stuff.

So she introduces herself, completely interrupting the conversation I was already having with someone else. And then, with her son right next to her, starts to explain how the other day I hit her son's head with the office door and he's been really upset about this ever since. Now I remember being in the office and I remember they walked in behind me but I think I would have remembered if the door I was holding had struck the head of a four year old. He definitely hit his head and his mom definitely overreacted. All that is spot on. But no part of my person or anything my person was touching came in contact with her child. No matter. I apologized.

Me: I'm so sorry. I must not have seen you. I'm sure you're feeling better now right?
Him: You shouldn't hit people in the head because it can hurt them. You really hurt me.

And that's when I kneed him right in the face. 

His mom: Sweetie I'm sure she didn't mean to do it. Accidents happen. But she's really sorry, ok?

Uh, did I miss something? Wasn't this the conversation you should have had with him two days ago in the ambulance on the way to the emergency room private? Why am I here?

At this point I am wishing I had hit him in the head and her too. So I say my last apologies and start to walk away and as I'm walking away he says to me: Don't ever do that again. 

Unbelievable. What kind of mom makes this kind of big fucking deal over an accident, very likely caused by her own son running into a door. I'll tell you what kind of mom. The freakishly indulgent kind that gave up being a lawyer or banker or director of some bullshit to make babies and now feels she must, to borrow a phrase from Aimee, manage her child's feelings on a molecular level. What is she teaching him? That there is always someone to blame?

So I drop off my daughter and I'm heading back to my son's class because I'm supposed to read a story to his classmates. And just as I'm thinking none of those kids better cross me or I might slam a door on their head, I run into her again, this time without her kid. And she starts to tell me that she hoped that I didn't mind her little drama but it was for the benefit of her son. He'd been really upset. This happened TWO DAYS AGO. I mumbled a sure, forget about it and kept moving. But I will surely see her tomorrow and on Monday and every freaking day after for the rest of my life.

And I am sure you are asking, why is she having such a tantrum about this little incident. The woman's crazy and the boy's crazy because of her so what's the big deal? True. No big deal. But I've been thinking a lot about blame. Because I'm one of those people who is more than happy to find someone to blame. I get charged a credit card fee for a late payment? Well it's because you didn't send me the reminder in time. We show up to the wrong pool for swim lessons? Well it's because the confirmation letter went to spam. You won't take these shoes back because I don't have a receipt? Well, you must be pea-brained jerk-faces. It's not one of my finer qualities. And it even comes out when I'm with my kids. And then they start name-calling and blaming. I don't want to teach them to blame. So maybe this incident was the medicine I needed to seal my commitment to stop blaming everyone for my misfortunes, big, small or accidental.  I hate medicine. Almost as much as I hate crazy preschool moms.