A much anticipated evening with my mom and sister at a local coffee shop quickly turned sour this evening…thanks to the spiteful glares and rude remarks from an older lady a few tables away.

Book in hand, she was immediately annoyed upon my entrance to the shop with three children. Her death-like stares began the moment we stepped inside, and the rude remark under her breath made my blood boil. Each innocent squeal or giggle from my two-year old elicited glares from her unlike any I’ve ever seen from a complete stranger. You know the saying, “If looks could kill?” I assure you, if that were the case, we’d have been dead upon our very entrance.

Her bold rudeness caused our get-together to end much sooner than I’d anticipated. Packing up our belongings and exiting the door, it took the force of an army to keep me from marching over to her table to give her a piece of my mind.

Now that the dust has settled and I’ve had some time to think, I’m glad I didn’t tell her what was on my mind at the time. But I wish I could go back and tell her now what’s on my heart.

Grouchy coffee shop lady…in a town our size and the Internet as vast as it is, I’m sure you’ll never actually find this blog post and read it. But, in the tiniest chance that you might somehow, here’s what I’d like you to know.

I am a mom. I’m not sure if you have children or not. I’m guessing if you do, they’re all grown by now. Don’t you remember what it’s like to be in the throes of motherhood? Please tell me you had a time or two when you took your children to a restaurant, but please don’t tell me that they behaved perfectly each and every time….because I won’t believe you. You must’ve forgotten.

Maybe you’re not a mom. Maybe you’ve never had the opportunity/challenge to raise little people. To teach them each and every thing they need to know. In that case, I almost feel sorry for you. Not because you didn’t have children, but because you would so harshly judge those trying their best to do their job well, when you may have no first-hand experience in this immensely difficult and wonderful occupation.

I want you to know that this job of mine…it’s wonderful. It’s amazing. It’s fun. It’s fantastic. But this job…it’s also hard. Trying. Exhausting. Emotional.

I want you to know that us young moms are trying. We’re trying our hardest to raise loving and caring children. Children who will one day become adults who impact the world around them.

I want you to know that sometimes, those lessons happen in coffee shops. I was trying to teach my children a lesson tonight. I was trying to teach them that an evening out with their family was a special treat…something to be savored and enjoyed. I try to teach them to recognize the great gifts they have in family, food, and fellowship.

Unfortunately, my children learned a very different lesson tonight. They saw, first-hand, the complete opposite of what I’ve spent almost 9 years of my life trying to teach. That people will be selfish, rude, judgmental, and harsh…even when they have no grounds on which to base those actions.

And so tonight, my heart is heavy. I wish, honestly, that I could get the chance to know you. That I could introduce you to my beautiful eight year old, my imaginative six year old, and my spunky two year old. I think you’d like them. They’re amazing children, and they have so much to offer to those around them. I think if you’d have glanced up from your book for a moment to smile at my son’s silliness instead of scoffing at it, you’d have found there’s no other little boy that would make you laugh like he can. I think if you took a moment to talk with me, you’d realize that I love people. I love to hear their stories, and I’d love to hear yours. And, I’d love to share mine.

And so, grouchy coffee shop lady, please know that your facial expressions and comments toward a young family are far reaching. I’m not sure if you even noticed that I smiled at you a few times this evening. I thought maybe my joy could rub off on you a little bit.

And that book you were so intent on reading in peace and quiet? I highly doubt it was worth the angst you caused yourself and my family. To tell you the truth, I’d love nothing more than to curl up with a good book in a quiet place this evening. I’d love to savor a relaxing cup of coffee while turning the pages of a beloved book. But instead I’ve  tucked my precious little ones into bed. We’ve brushed our teeth, read our books, sang our songs, and said our prayers…and tonight, my prayers included a prayer for you. A prayer for joy. and I truly hope you find it.