An Open Letter to the Couple that Publicly Shamed My Children
If you are a parent, you know how hard it can be, to go out to eat as a family. It's almost inevitable that something embarrassing will happen. My friend, Sarah, her husband and 3 children had one of those incidents last night. The reaction of one couple in the restaurant is very upsetting. With her permission, I'm sharing her social media post:
I was told tonight at a family restaurant that I shouldn’t bring my kids in public.
Because they’re being kids? In a family restaurant?
When we arrived, Saylor broke into a special rendition of “Happy Birthday” dedicated to Layne. Never mind his birthday was exactly 27 days ago. Naturally, he was mortified. Being 11 will do that to you. I pulled him close to me and told him to have a change of heart, because I recently had done the same.
You see, we spend so much time telling our kids to be quiet, shushing them in public, urging them to use inside voices. But aren’t quiet voices really reserved for church and funerals? Isn’t the real world the stage for showcasing who we are and who we’re meant to be? Instead of suppressing that song inside, turn around and belt it out. Saylor is a natural entertainer. And she’s three.
Tonight, we were at a local, favorite restaurant – the name of it doesn’t matter – but when we walked in, Layne instantly was embarrassed by his loud sisters. I told him to embrace who they are, especially his youngest. She has a knack for entertaining, singing, attracting that spotlight. She will be somebody someday. Heck, she already is. So, he settled into the usual craziness of dinner, tempered with crayons and crackers.
The check had almost made its way to the table when Brad delivered an over-the-shoulder (and in my opinion unwarranted), “I’m sorry” to the table-for-two behind us after an exceptionally shrill screech from Saylor. We expected a sympathetic shrug of the shoulders as they exited their booth, but instead we were given an exasperated shake of the head from the over-the-hill and over-the-moment woman and a maddened whisper-under-his-breath from the saggy jeans, mean man.
I fractured the moment with, “What did you say?”
“Your kids are so poorly behaved,” he said.
Layne dropped his half-eaten burger. His worst fears had become a reality.
Brad stood up to defend his family. To defend his kids’ honor.
Two booths full of people behind us began to jeer. The man who was taunting children looked like a fool, yet he stood his shaky ground. I wish I had the strength to pull out my phone and begin recording, but I was too busy consoling my crying boy, as tears were pooling in my eyes.
“My kids, and my grandkids, never acted like this,” he went on to say. Then came the clencher: “YOU SHOULDN’T BRING YOUR KIDS IN PUBLIC.”
Oh, you mean that sweet redhead, freckle faced kid who brings nothing but joy and smiles to my life? Or, that blonde-headed baby who works her ass off in the gym – the one who takes life a little too seriously and this is her only night to have a dinner out with her family? And, what about this boy who’s crying because you made his worst fears come true?
You’re lucky I’m not punching your face right now. But, I’m the bigger person, not you. That’s what I really wanted to say.
From there, the people behind us poured out of their booths onto our table and hugged my baby boy, made him feel special and loved. We got a hot cookie covered with ice cream and whipped cream compliments of the restaurant, and our waitress got the tip of her night. There is more love than evil in the world. That is what I want my kids to remember from tonight. Not the sneers and bad things the couple said to my girls as they were walking out of the restaurant.
Shame on you saggy jeans, mean man.
YOU SHOULD STAY OUT OF PUBLIC, NOT US!