A piece to to all those unaware out there. “Just remember that sometimes, the way you think about a person, isn’t the way they actually are.”
By Beth Morris
Dear Starbucks Barista,
I am sorry that it took my Mom forever to tell you what she wanted to drink. She really just wanted a plain ol’ coffee and your rather large menu flustered her. It’s certainly not your fault, but it’s not hers either. Please don’t judge her.
Dear Man Shopping with Your Two Darling Young Daughters,
I’m sorry my Mom awkwardly approached your girls and probably made them feel slightly uncomfortable. I’m a Mom, I get it…stranger danger. But she doesn’t get it. At least not anymore. She thought they were darling, and really felt they would like to know. Surely to your daughters she came across as a wrinkled old woman with really bad coffee breath. Please just smile and thank her for the compliment.
Dear Stranger Sitting in The Restaurant,
I am sorry my Mom sat next to you and started talking about the weather, or what she wanted to eat, or who knows what. See, you have brown hair so she thought you were me. It must be scary coming out of the restroom in a public place and forgetting where you were. She was nervous. And, I know she was embarrassed. If you could please not scowl, and if she’s laughing, laugh about it with her. She can appreciate a good laugh.
Dear Friendly Neighbourhood Biker with a Very Long Beard,
I am sorry my Mom walked up to you asking if you knew where her husband was while you were standing in line for ice cream. I realize that was probably pretty strange. Actually it’s stranger than you may think since she hasn’t had a husband in nearly 20 years. That man she went over to and stood by shortly after your encounter? That was my husband. Yes, in that moment she thought he was hers, but I guess that’s better than the countless other times she thinks my husband is married to her Aunt (who has very likely passed away at this point in time). Please just acknowledge her kindly, and say I am sorry I haven’t seen him.
Dear Friend at The Park,
I am sorry my Mom felt the urge to “intervene” while you were patiently helping your child through a meltdown while trying to leave the park. It may have been a little embarrassing, but please know you probably weren’t as embarrassed as me. Boundaries are something she no longer has the capacity to process. Thank you for understanding and not scolding her like I was so tempted to do.
Dear Mr. Sandwich Maker,
Thank you for forgiving my Mom for leaving without paying for her drink. She was supposed to be enjoying her grandchild’s swim lessons, but for one reason or another felt the strong urge to go find a cup of coffee. The thought of paying for it simply didn’t don on her since she hasn’t paid for anything herself in a very long time. Please know she really admired how long the coffee stayed hot. It was the best (stolen) cup of coffee she ever had.
I am guilty just like you. It’s easy to assume we know it all, when in reality we so don’t. You don’t understand my Mom’s disease. You don’t get what it’s done to her brain. You don’t get that she doesn’t even realize that what she is doing is weird, or strange, or awkward, or uncomfortable, or rude, or silly, or maybe even seem a bit mean. But I will tell you this: she can see you roll your eyes and she can see your blank stare. She hears you sigh, and can hear you snicker. I can see her shame and I can see her embarrassment. I can feel her desire for acceptance and I can feel her heart break. Dear Judgmental, please just next time smile. Please just next time play along. Please just next time practice patience…God only knows how much I need to, also. Her well-meaning, sweet, breaking heart deserves that much.
Please just next time don’t judge her.