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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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From My Window

Issue Date: April 18, 2019

Observations From Three Feet



By Jane Thibodeau Martin,



**********

A few weeks ago, we spent a few days with our son and his family, celebrating my granddaughter's second birthday. She is lucky to have two extended families who dote on her and the festivities lasted for nearly a week. She was well drilled in saying "I am two!" in her cute little voice, charming all of us. Her vocabulary is expanding rapidly and you never know what is going to come out of her next. But I bet sooner or later it will be something that will make her parents cringe, although her innocence wouldn't allow her intent to be unkind.

An extended family member shared this story, which still makes me laugh whenever I think of it. She was standing in line at a grocery checkout with her son, about four, in front of her. Ahead of them in line was a stocky person. The little boy's head came just about up to the person's backside. It was probably this close up view that caused him to turn around to his mom and say quite loudly "Now THAT is one big booty!" Of course his poor mom was mortified. She suddenly "remembered" she had forgotten something and retreated back into the store aisles where a "coaching" session could be conducted in privacy.

On our way back to Wisconsin I witnessed a similar debacle in a crowded women's restroom in a convenience store in Missouri. I was one of three women standing against the wall, waiting for a vacant stall. Directly in front of us was a stall with two little feet moving around and a continual commentary in a chipper little girl's voice. Obviously mom was using the facility and her daughter was with her. The little one was angling for candy on the way out, asking how much longer their trip was, and in general talking up a storm. But then she quieted for a moment, before blurting out "Wow, that's a lot of poop!"

Now I had been standing silently with two strangers, but in that moment we immediately bonded in a sisterhood. It was like we were linked by extra-sensory perception. We avoided all eye contact, lest we laugh. We all knew the mom was mortified, and we all felt terrible for her. At the same time, it was hysterically funny. Anyone who is a parent has been there. We wanted to help provide a modicum of dignity to her escape as she walked past us to escape the bathroom.

I made a comment about the spring-like weather, and one of the other women said she was sick of the mud. We chatted together as the pair exited the stall, quickly visited the sink and made a hasty exit. We provided her some cover, as she beat a retreat. We were united to spare this stranger, with her cute little girl, any further humiliation.

Little children must learn how to be considerate, and the subtle art of tactfulness, just like they learn to walk. They will make mistakes, and we must help them learn manners, which are behaviors rooted in kindness and compassion for others.

At some point my granddaughter will pop out with something that greatly embarrasses her parents and I know they will handle it graciously like the great parents they are. But as the grandma, I get to hear the story, and laugh uproariously at it, because in my parenting day I've been there and done that.

Song stuck in my head: "I Can Only Imagine" by MercyMe. This is a simply produced song, that you can picture hearing your own church musicians performing, but there will no doubt be hundreds of beautiful versions recorded by gifted musicians. A lovely vision of the afterlife that will be a staple at celebrations of life for many years.

You can reach me for commentary, alternative viewpoints or ideas at this e-mail address: JanieTMartin@gmail.com.


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