It went down like this:
The kids and I pushed our shopping cart into the check-out line. Remembering the recent city ordinance that shopping bags will no longer be available, I said out loud, "Oh no! We forgot our bags." A lady in the check-out line next to me says, "That's because you have too many kids." And that is when I started yelling at a stranger in the grocery store. That is when my kids saw their mother go bat-crap crazy. "Excuse me?!?!? What did you say? TOO MANY KIDS! How dare you! What kind of thing is that to say in front of a child! Every child is a blessing...." And so on and so on and so on. I turned to the kids and told each of them how much I loved them--out loud. But, I wasn't finished. I turned back to that poor lady and finished with, "Oh, so I suppose you've never forgotten ANYTHING seeing as how you don't have TOO MANY kids!"
Turning back to the checker I saw clearly that I had his sympathies. I then realized that we had forgotten one thing that Meg was holding and he had already totaled our order. He said, "Don't worry. That's on me." and gave it to me for free.
I left the store shaking. I'm still torn between terrible remorse at having lost my cool and being proud that I stood up for my children so passionately.
Dear Lady In Trader Joe's:
I am sorry. Perhaps you did need correction, but I'm sure I could have done it more lovingly and without causing quite the scene I did. What you said was the proverbial straw. You see, I deal with negativity towards large families every time we go out. Our city is not very child friendly and people can be downright mean. I feel sure by the look of shock and embarrassment on your face that you didn't intend to be mean. I probably ruined your day. I hate to think I did because I prefer to have the opposite effect on people. If we meet again, I hope I recognize you, so I can apologize face-to-face.
If I had it to do over again, I'd like to think that instead of letting all my frustrations with all the comments I've received in the past year spill out on you, I'd calmly look you in the eye and say, "That wasn't a very kind thing to say. Every child is a blessing. I forgot my bags because the ordinance is new. It looks like you did, as well. May I purchase a reusable bag today for you today?"
That would have been a better example to show my children and you and the checkers and the rest of the shoppers.
The Lady With Exactly The Right Amount of Children