An interesting episode happened at Target today. 1 of the 4 went AWAL (absent without a leave-also known as, leaving the group with out permission because I want to). Somewhere between my driveway and my parking space at any particular store, I remind my people how to behave and how not to behave when we go inside the store;usually they obey. Today, a couple of kids that I mother decided that they would get one of those big bouncy balls from the toy section and dribble it around the store, pass it back and forth and set it up like a volley ball. After repeating myself literally like a broken record, I told the ring leader, that we would not be getting his 2 liter drink that we came for in the first place if he could not obey. The drink was then put up on a high shelf - in the jewelry section of all places and left there. After witnessing that the drink was not in reach, it was not going to brought to the check out, the ringleader decides he was going to leave the group in retaliation, the group being our family. I looked at a couple more things in the jewelry department and then started calling this little ones name-loudly.
As all of us went down the aisle, we looked and looked and even called for the ringleader but, no answer. Was he kidnapped? Was he just being defiant? Was he looking for us in another department? After asking myself this, I said , "C'mon guys, I'm checking out". Dolly was upset, thinking that her bro was going to get left. Seconds later, zipping out of nowhere, comes the ringleader, laughing as if he played a joke on us. Firmly I asked him to come here and said, "Son, You left us, and walked away from us, you could have gotten snatched up. We did not know where you were. We were looking for you. (All the while he thinks this is funny) You are not supposed to leave the group when we are in the store together. What you did was not funny". I didn't get angry, I kept my cool but, I knew what I had to do. I looked at him and said, "We will not be getting the soda today, may I please have the coupon back". (Yes a coupon, for a free 2-liter Pepsi product). He slammed the coupon into the palm of my hand and began to cry- which didn't produce any tears ironically and ended when I got to the check out.
Now, some would say I was being to hard on him because, well you know, boys will be boys. But, I can't help but, ask how long will we excuse behavior because kids will be kids or boys will be boys? If me, the Big Momma, says no, why should that mean yes? If I let certain things slide now, in fear of being "too hard" , how much will I let slide when they are teens, in fear of them not wanting to be my friend, or liking me? Really? Am I not obligated to train my boys? Or should I let boys be boys and run off and disappear in the grocery store, on purpose without any consequences? Or let them sneak out at night and take the family car for a drive because, well, that's what teens do?
We then went home without the drink. I then heard how I wasn't liked, I was mean, and I wasn't welcomed to the ringleaders house when he becomes an adult. So how did I respond? I told him, "I like you, not only do I like you, I love you and you can always come to my house". I reminded him again before he went inside the house, as I was sitting in the drivers seat, how much I liked him and how "sad" it made me to think that he didn't like me, and how much I really did love him. He asked me, why is my head down and why does my face look like that. I told him because I was sad he didn't like me. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see a little satisfied grin on his face. We went inside the house, everyone went out to play-except for my frienemy. He wanted a snack, but, I gave him something better, I gave him a piece of chocolate- which is the ultimate snack in his world. And to remind him that all is forgiven. Minutes later, he asked if he could help me. I stated to him that I thought he didn't like me. He then told me he was mad at me before and that he did like me and wanted to know if he could help with dinner. He got the plates, the silverware, and he helped make pancakes from scratch. He counted them. Suggested we make more batter so everyone could have an extra pancake and that is exactly what we did. We laughed a little, and smiled a lot as we made dinner together. We were once again on the path and tying heart strings together.
Lesson learned by him: Stick with Mom in the store. Listen the first time. She loves me. Lesson learned by the other 3 sets of eyes watching: stick with Mom in the store, put the ball down the first time- don't pick it up to begin with. Lesson learned by everyone: What you do and what you don't do matters. And believe me, my little boy matters alot to this Momma.