When Myles was still tiny and needed to be carried to and from the van in the infant carrier, I would sometimes haul out the stroller for the short walk from the school parking lot into the school to pick Sam up in the afternoons. I saw the looks the other mothers gave as they clearly had forgotten how heavy those damn things can be, particularly when baby reaches the upper weight limit. I felt awkward and chalked it up as one of those things mothers do to one another when they have the luxury of a high horse to sit on.
The other day I passed a mother on my way out of the school. I don't know her, but from seeing her at pickup every day, I'd guess her baby is about six months old now. She's generally pretty friendly and smiles or says hello (as I do with her). On this particular day, her baby wasn't with her as she rushed into the school. In the back of my mind, I suppose I thought this was odd because her baby is always with her. Maybe I unconsciously knew something was off before I saw it...I can't be sure. But as I walked past her SUV to get to my van, I saw something move in the back seat. She had left her baby in the car alone. I turned around in shock, to see mom scurrying out the door with her older child in tow. Her eyes locked with mine for only a second before she looked to the ground and her cheeks blushed red. And suddenly there I was, sitting on that high horse of my own.
I know it was only a minute...two at most. I know we all know one another by sight (even if not enough to say hello) and we can identify each other's vehicles. I know we live in a small town where people are generally trustworthy (except for, ya know, the guy who chopped up another guy and is currently on trial for murder). But...
The truth is, I can't help but think how some days I would have loved to leave Myles strapped in the van rather than lugging him into the school...but never did. Tired and self-conscious...I just never did. I compare her to myself even though I know how unfair that can be.
She's always carrying that infant carrier when I see her now. But there is no eye contact or acknowledgment whatsoever. I suppose I can live with that.
Where do you park a high horse these days anyway?