Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Dear Mr. Stranger on the Elevator,

elevator

Dear Mr. Stranger on the Elevator,

Let me take this moment to apologize for my daughter's behavior the other day. A two year old is too young to understand that the elevator has rules and etiquette. My daughter can't yet read the nuances of human behavior and posture that scream "back off" to a more world-weary adult. She doesn't know that, when confronted by a person who is closed off and defended, she is to retreat quietly to the other side of the car.

So forgive my daughter for trying to engage with you. Forgive her for smiling and waving at you. Forgive her for wanting to connect with you on the short ride between floors.

Clearly, it was too much of a burden on you to reciprocate. I can't begin to imagine the years of loneliness and disappointment that have hardened you to the sweet innocence of a child. I pity you the inability to share a moment of warmth with another human being. Or, who knows, maybe, you were just having a bad day.

I must try and have compassion for you. If I don't, I will want to annihilate you. I will want to destroy you for rejecting my daughter, and initiating her into a world that can sometimes be cold and harsh. If these thoughts seem extreme, please try and understand a mother's impulse to shelter her child from the reality of human stinginess as long as she can.

Mr. Stanger on the Elevator, unfortunately, you aren't the first person to treat my daughter this way. Luckily, you are a minority. Luckily, my daughter continues to greet everyone with the great joy that God seems to have reserved for young children. Thankfully, most people on the elevator respond to her in kind.

For your sake, I'm hoping that you were just having a bad day. What that would mean is that, the next time you see my daughter on the elevator, you will get to experience her great joy. It is a gift. She is a gift. I wish for you to be on the receiving end of her gift.

Sincerely,
Claire's Proud Mom


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67 comments:

  1. This makes me sad.. Who doesn't wave back to a child?! I have encountered so many huffy, intolerant people since becoming a mum.. It's just not on.
    I have felt like saying "Sorry my pram is an inconvenience to you. Would you like me to take my toddler out so she can run around instead?"

    These people were kids once too..but hopefully not parents. :)

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    1. I don't know why. I will never know. I think that is part of what is so frustrating!

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  2. YAY!!!! Comments are working again! Wahhhhhooooooooo

    I have been checking back constantly since yesterday.

    I totally see what you mean here. Some people are so rude. However, it's hard to know what goes on in people's daily lives. For instance, what if he just learned he was being laid off....or something like that. Well,. he would obviously be worried (what's going to happen to his family and such). My point, we don't know what's going on in people's lives. It's unfortunate that we can't all wear a tag around our necks - I just lost my Mother, or I'm an drug addict, or I just lost my job - so please don't be nice to me.

    Or, I'm a prick, and even the cutest little girl will not make me smile.

    Maybe that's it. Maybe he was just a prick. It might very well be, but maybe not. We don't know, do we?

    It's really great that you teach your children to be nice to everybody. Too bad this guy didn't learn that lesson. However, I don't think that should stop her from being social and smiling at everybody - cause odds are - they will smile back. Cause even the pricks in the world deserve a second chance.

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    1. It's hard. I know people have stuff going on, and they are under no obligation to be nice to anyone.

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  3. This letter made me laugh out loud! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. People are sometimes so harsh and rude to kids, it is hard to feel sorry for them, or wonder if they have just had bad news, a big fight with a loved one, or been fired or something, that is making them less than pleasant to the perfectly innocent child they are snarling at or if they are just plain miserable and taking it out on the world! :( I had the same today, waiting in the doc's office. 3 year old playing happily, quietly and not disturbing anyone, but lady next to us kept "shooshing" him, as we looked at books, waiting for our appointment. Thankfully the doc's receptionist came round, and told her to "shoosh" and that she was making more fuss and noise than he was and she piped down! Sometimes I have to bite my tongue hard, not to be rude back to people!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. People sometimes have strange reactions to kids. Luckily, they don't seem to notice!

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  5. This made me chuckle, sadly there are lots of people who need to get a life! Lovely post found through #PoCoLo

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    1. No one is under any obligation to be nice, but I just don't understand why it's so hard to acknowledge another human being.

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  6. Mama bears want to protect their cubs from all hurts and injustices. It seems like that man's mother didn't do a very good job of that. How sad for him!
    My special needs 14 yr old gets snubbed and ignored regularly. Thank God she doesn't have the ability to notice, but I do and it hurts. I know exactly how you feel, mama bear!
    BTW- love your blog name! would you consider linking this post up at Friendship Friday at http://www.faithfulmomof9.com/friendship-friday-linkup-and-collage-friday-2/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, so right! Mama bears want to protect their cubs! When it happens to her, I feel it doubly!

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  7. How much does it cost to engage with a child? Flower always smiles and waves at people and most people respond, but there's always the odd miserable old sod who needs to be reminded about the joy of childhood. Though usually these people have never had their own kids to appreciate it!

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    1. I know. It seems like such a small thing to ask!

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  8. Fab post!!

    My 2 year old greets and waves at everyone. Our binmen now every monday morning stand at our gate and wave to him. I cant thank them enough for taking the few seconds every monday morning to keep one toddler a happy boy :-)

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    1. Aw, that is so sweet! Yes, I know that there are many other people who go out of their way for my daughter. I need to focus on them, not the cranky man in the elevator!

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  9. That is ridiculous! We encounter that too. My 4 year old waves to everyone! I love how you worded this!! Fantastic!

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  10. It's sad isn't, although some people are quite intimidated by children, particularly those who don't have them in their lives - they are not quite sure how to engage.

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    1. That's a good point! But, really, everyone knows how to wave! I don't think it's that hard!

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  11. May she NEVER grow out of her beautiful views of youth. BB however is old and would have given him a good ::BOPASO::

    BB2U

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    1. Ha! I know. I'm old too and had to bite my tongue!

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  12. Super excellent post, and you're so right, children do have that beautiful lack of reservation that we have to lose as we get older, and it is a total gift. :)

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  13. Oh no! I hope he wasn't too mean. Before kids I had days when I thought kids were annoying, but I would have at least managed a smile.

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    1. I don't think a smile is too much to ask for, even if you don't like kids.

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  14. What a miserable geezer! I hope you gave him lots of dirty scowls. It's his loss in the end....

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  15. Great post! It breaks my heart when someone ignores a smile or a wave from one of my kids - they don't understand why everyone isn't nice - yet... Long may that continue. Love your letter! #PoCoLo

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yes, when someone is mean to them, I think it hurts us doubly!

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  16. Isn't it a shame that we live in a world like this? Why can't everyone just take a moment - even if they are having a bad day - to understand that a child doesn't know the meaning of a bad day yet. It's also a shame that we ever have to grow up into a world where we have bad days. Thank you again for linking up to PoCoLo and for your valued support xx

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    1. That's a good way to put it...that a child doesn't know it's a bad day. So true.

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  17. Who knows, maybe Grumpy Man on Elevator is reading this as we speak and resolving to change his ways...? Here's hoping.

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  18. What a beautiful post.
    Thankfully, you are right, the grumpy old men in elevators tend to be the minority when it comes to the joy of children.

    Stopping in from the UBP.

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    1. Yes! They are the minority! You are so right!

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  19. Found you through #PoCoLo. I couldn't agree more with this post. Like yours, my daughter is happy and smiley. When she waves at strangers in the supermarket or says hello to people in a cafe, I am astounded by stone-faced people who just complete ignore her. For one, its rude! And secondly, who is so busy that they can't take four seconds in a day to say hello to a toddler. Luckily, most people are sweet and friendly and reinforce my faith in the universe!!

    www.samandasha2.blogspot.com

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    1. Stone-faced, right? It's crazy. I just can't imagine going through life like that!

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  20. Man, who can resist a sweet little kid? Boo to the grumpy man.

    Thanks for sharing your favorite post at Raising Imperfection! We feature our favorites on Friday, make sure to come back and check.
    Leslie

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  21. That a girl Claire! Reagan is the same way ... she is such a social butterfly and I cans ee when some people get annoyed by it but geez... they are kids! Just smile and indulge them for two seconds!

    Thank you for linking to Raising Imperfection.
    Please come back Friday to see if you were featured. :)

    ¤´¨)
    ¸.•*´
    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo
    www.raising-reagan.com

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    1. I know. I feel like it isn't too much to ask to smile.

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  22. Well said. Exactly how I would have responded, right after throat punching him (or not).

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    Replies
    1. Oh, did I have that inclination. I did the "or not" though!

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  23. I used to get upset and a little angry at people like this. Wondering what on earth was wrong with them. But now I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Usually when people are this unhappy or bitter, they're just not having a bad day, they're probably having a bad life. There may be depression lurking or something even worse.
    I think showing compassion is the least we can do.

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  24. Standing Ovation!!!! I too have experienced a Mr. Stranger and it's so odd & rude, yet so very sad how some people are totally disconnected from joy! Thanks for sharing on Monday Meet Up :)

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  25. Good points, Lisa and Grace, you're obviously very nice people! We should be compassionate, as who knows what someone else is going through....and it's great that it hsn't dampened her spirit, but I know I'd be tempted to make some Mr Bean faces.

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    1. I refrained from the Mr. Bean faces! Not good for me or my daughter! :)

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  26. I love this post! I am glad you linked this up for #magicmoments xx

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  27. I probably would have shot him some serious dirty looks as well, but I am trying SO hard to adhere to the new philosophy on life that I learned from my sister when she came to help me when the twins were born. She made a comment about being tired, I scoffed at her, and with great kindness she said, "Just because you are more tired, doesn't mean I am not tired too."

    We never know what is going on in other people's lives, and to judge them based on how *we* feel is just as much an unkindness as a grumpy old man trying to ignore a gleeful two year old on the elevator. You never know if he was grieving for a child and it was too painful to interact with your daughter's sweet, bright smiling face.

    Or, he could have just been a grumpy old man who never liked kids. That's still his prerogative.

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    1. It is his prerogative, for sure. No one has an obligation to be nice to anyone else. It doesn't seem like much to do though.

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  28. Finally linking up with my Friday Flash Blog community. Thanks for linking up and sharing in the fun.

    I’d like to highlight your blog post for this week’s Friday Flash Blog. Please let me know by leaving a comment at http://thejennyevolution.com/2013/04/04/friday-flash-blog-12/

    Jennifer
    www.TheJennyEvolution.com

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  29. That is such a shame, his loss, not yours or Claires.

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  30. That's so sad. I hope it didn't affect her
    in anyway. Oh well his loss not hers. Btw
    following you from the UBP! I followed you
    on here and G+ return the follows please!
    Thanks!:0)

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  31. Hey Rachel! So glad you got the comment section fixed for this post. I think it's sad that someone has that much hurt, pain, frustration and anger inside that they could be mean to a sweet little girl. She seems like a trooper though. Kids are so resilient and forgiving...may she never lose that. Have a great day!

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    1. Yea, she was fine. I agree with everything you said.

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  32. Oh how horrid - and how sad that someone could be so bitter and self-engrossed not to respond to a small child.

    Thanks so much for linking up at The Friday Baby Shower - Alice x

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    1. Personally, I don't think a smile is too much to ask for.

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  33. Wow!...Hi!! New follower here, I found you on the UBP13! Your blog is absolutely amazing! I am a new blogger and hope you can come by and follow me at http://mybutterflyhaus.blogspot.com!

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  34. Hello! Stopping by from the UBP from amotherworld.com! Great post :)

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