In the waiting room at the doctor’s surgery with three of the girls. Nics needed some blood tests and Nen had to have her 18-month vaccinations. We’d booked but still ended up waiting for an hour before we were able to see the doctor and then back to the waiting room to be passed on to the nurse. After an hour and twenty minutes of waiting for the nurse, Sienna was a bit over it. She needed lunch and was well past her sleep time. She had discovered that if she climbed on the little table, she could reach the lollies on the receptionist’s desk. She tried it a few times and I was intentionally slow to respond because I’m trying not to aggravate my hip injury.
So she was a little restless. And a little vocal. And I’m a mother of four. Maybe I’ve gotten a bit ‘meh’ about making my kids behave perfectly for two hours in a waiting room.
An older man across the room kept looking up and giving me the evil eye. He stuck his fingers in his ears. He shook his head and scowled at me. I took the kids outside to try to give the man some space but it was hot out there and we couldn’t hear the nurse call us so we went back inside where the man continued to shake his head and scowl. I tried to ignore it but he kept up for a good five minutes more. I tried to hold Sienna and distract her from the lollies, the water cooler and the toys that were too noisy for the man with fingers in his ears. It didn’t help. He continued to shake his head at me. Eventually, I’d had enough.
“Please, can you stop shaking your head at me,” I said to the man. “She’s a baby. Babies make noises.”
“It’s not the baby, it’s you,” he said. “You are a disgrace. The worst display of parenting I’ve ever seen. You should be ashamed of yourself. You are a terrible mother.” He spat the words at me as he seethed with anger.
“Come on, Mate. That’s not nice,” I said, as calmly as I could.
“Don’t you call me mate!”
He was starting to yell.
“I’m not your mate. I wouldn’t be mates with someone as horrible as you! You’re a disgrace to society. You can’t control your children,” he said.
Anger welled up inside me. “Don’t you judge me like that.”
Fortunately, the nurse came out of her office and called for Sienna. The kids quickly picked up the toys. They were staring at the man with wide eyes. We had to wheel past him to get to the nurse. By then Sienna was really crying. I said, “It’s okay, baby, you cry as much as you like.”
He stuck his pointer fingers in his ears but with his middle fingers, he saluted me as I passed by.
The nurse did the needles and then told me I’d have to return to the waiting room for 30 minutes. I asked her if she was sure it had to be that long. Even the pamphlet she’d given me said 15. I told her that I couldn’t wait in the waiting room because there was a man out there being abusive. I told her I’d just have to leave. But by then I’d started to cry. She insisted we stay inside her room. We waited for a further 15 minutes. The poor kids were so over it. The nurse’s phone rang. Someone else was waiting to see her. The receptionist wanted her to hurry up. It was the rude man! He was waiting for the nurse while we were in there hiding with her.
We passed the rude man’s wife on the way out the door. I tried to catch her eye so I could smile at her but she wouldn’t make eye contact. We passed the rude man in the carpark. He was still shaking his head.
As I walked back to school I burst into tears again. I don’t deal well with conflict. Especially such unfair conflict. And especially when already dealing with a lot of pain. My phone rang and it was my best friend. I blubbed my way through an explanation as to why I was crying. After I hung up I was still crying.
Nics took my hand and said, “Mum, that man was just a bully. Sometimes people are bullies for no reason. You did nothing wrong. I want you to stop crying now. You are okay.”
I stopped crying and we walked back to school.
This story has no profound statements to conclude with. I just needed to write what happened and get it off my chest. Though I do think that this weird little incident will come in handy one day.
p.s I’ve decided to start blogging. Just about life. Maybe about motherhood, being a wife, being a worship leader, a student, a sister, a neighbour and a follower of Jesus.
FIRST PUBLISHED March 2015