Enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think.

My son melted the frickety-fuck down at a Target check-out last weekend. But, that’s ok because it was the day after Halloween and the entire world was there to buy Goldfish crackers at a deep discount because there were bats on the packaging. I’m not going to lie, a lot of frugal shoppers witnessed our ceremonial dance.

Pre-meltdown: I offered popcorn. He whined about wanting vanilla milk. I said, “Ok, nothing then.” and he was displeased.

Hulk-level displeased.

He began screaming and proceeded to do a quick *wap-wap-wap* like a friendly knock on the door…except he was knocking on my stomach…with his head. The looks immediately started. I’m used to all of the looks. They are as consistent as the rising sun.

1) Pity
2) Disgust
3) “My child would NEVER.”

and my favorite

4) Amusement

In these moments – when I find myself firmly between a rock and hard place; I canvas the crowd, searching for just one amused face.

Because life is amusing. Even when your son is physically assaulting you in a sea of Halloween markdowns.

One amused face reminded me to loosen my death grip on my son’s wrist. I was dragging. He was pulling. We were getting nowhere.

One lady was smiling. It spoke to me and it said important stuff about wisdom and the passage of time. Someone else had survived something similar and something about watching us lock horns churned up some sort of happiness in her.

The woman in the far right check-out line looked right at me and smiled, lowered her head back toward her basket, chuckled and kept right on living.

Like it was no big deal.

I leaned down and did my best impression of a person with lockjaw. “Don’t you EVER hit me again. Ever.”

I was so damn angry. I could barely see straight. Still, that woman’s smile was as comforting as hot cocoa right after ice skating.

Life’s too short to be so damn worried about the lady at Target with the screaming kid and it’s definitely too short to scan the crowds for judgment and pity.

And, besides all of that, it’s much too lonely if you don’t search for the amused face in the crowd.

You can count on two things. Someone will be judging you and, someone will be laughing while you drag a toddler wearing one shoe from underneath a garment rack. Look for the smiling people.

My son better not ever hit me again. But, if he loses his shit in a Payless and clubs me with a shoe horn, somebody…throw a girl a chuckle.

Yours in good times and bad,
BPM