I saw her at the store. That mom in her oversized tee and her leggings. She looked tired. The kind of fatigue only another mom would understand. Her messy bun had started to fall down and her mascara was leaking. Her child was screaming in the buggy while she stood there in line at the cash register, quiet, immobile. I could feel the tension coming from people around her wondering why she wasn’t asking her child to quit screaming.
What people see as her being indifferent is actually her following a behavior plan put in place by the child’s therapists. What people don’t know is that behind her apparent calmness, she feels terrible inside. What people ignore is that despite her neglected look, she cares about her appearance. That leaking mascara is the result of the tears she cries in the comfort of her home.
But right now, she’s standing in line at Target and her son is having a tantrum. She cares, believe me, it’s harder on her and her child than it is on the people around her. In two minutes, they will head back to their car. Her, she will drive home, she will wait for the screaming to stop. That behavior that was so hard for them to bear in the grocery store, she will deal with it again and again.
Next time you see her at the store, don’t stare. You know now. Appearances are just that: appearances.