Wow. This started off as a bit of a vent, then went in a different direction...
So when you homeschool, pretty much anything can be a teachable moment, academic or otherwise. Yesterday brought not only a beautiful day to go to the ballpark, but an opportunity to teach my kids something important as well.
By the time we got our tickets and entered the park, it was already the second inning. I took the kids to the bathroom first in hopes of staying in our seats for a while, then got everybody Dippin' Dots before heading to our seats. We waited for a break in the play, and a man sitting in the wheelchair row (but not actually in a wheelchair) tells me that my son - my just-turned-three-last-week son - owes him a beer, because he'd kicked his beer over. (It didn't occur to me until the usher lady raised the point to me much later that his beer really should have been in the cupholder in front of him, not on the ground where 3yo could "kick" it in the first place). Alone with three children, on my fifth day of early labor, and my hands full of Dippin' Dots and tickets, I apologized and said I'd take care of it in a bit, but I needed to see to my kids.
So what does this guy do? He sets off barking at me! I was shocked and appalled. Maybe I'm just used to having my words taken at face value. If I say I'm going to do something, that means I'm going to do it! I tried to be patient, but I was getting upset. I was like, "look, I have three children here, my hands are full, and I'm very pregnant. I'll take care of it when I'm able." His responses? Things like "what does any of that have to do with me" (well, it must be something, because clearly it's all about you, isn't it?), "oh, and when would you be able" ("um, when we're seated and I have my kids taken care of," I replied), etc. I was pretty offended.
Finally, at a break in the play, I was like, "come on, kids, let's go," and started down the stairs. He kept barking at my back! "Oh, yeah. Come on, kids, let's go. And to Hell with me." Without looking back, I was like, "well, yeah - my kids need me, you don't."
I'm no angel - a big part of me wanted to dig my heels in and be spiteful. But I really do try to do the right thing... When we got to our seats, I got the kids settled. Two of them had dropped their spoons, so I grabbed some cash and was getting them ready to let me go get a couple new spoons - and a damn beer. 5yo had quite the cloudburst look on her face, and said, "that guy with the beer - you just shouldn't worry about him."
I sighed. "Even if someone is a going to be a rude jackwagon," I told her, "you need to be the bigger person." (Yeah... Could have phrased that better. But, you know, I'd been in labor for five days, was a little stressed, and was quite frankly near tears from the whole mess. Oops.) A couple guys in front of us were amused, turned around and pretended to be rude (in an obviously good-natured way), and brought a bit of much-needed levity to the situation. They were quite sympathetic when I filled them in on what had happened. Thankfully, a vendor with the exact same beers as the controversial object that had started it all happened into our section right then. I flagged him down, paid for a beer, and asked him to take it up to the man in the WC row (pointed him out, he was the row's only occupant). Yay! Now I could sit with my kids a minute and breathe.
A little bit later, the man came down to my row and spoke to me in a much nicer tone, thanking me for replacing the beer. It apparently made him quite pleased - who knows his story, after all? Maybe he just had no faith in humanity, and thought I was blowing him off. I explained that I really was good for it, but I had to juggle my three kids and full hands at the time. After receiving the beer, he seemed much more receptive to hearing what I was saying about my situation. I really appreciated that he took the time to come down and talk to me.
It made quite an impression on my girls, in particular, seeing how attitudes and human relations can be shifted when we simply make an effort to do the right thing. They definitely took it with them as part of yesterday's Coors Field memories, and told their dad about it that evening (I already had, in private) - 5 yo in particular seemed to have some good insights about it.
Most of the fans I encounter at Coors tend to be very good-natured and fun to interact with, regardless of which team they're supporting. I'm very grateful for that. This situation was quite upsetting, but in the end, I suppose I should be grateful for it, too - for the lesson it allowed me to teach my kids, as well as the reminder to me to do the right thing, even when I'm ticked. :-)