Will the fog eventually lift?

This morning, I woke up to find the day thick with fog; fog so dense, you could slice it with a knife.

Nevertheless, Roxy and I geared up and headed out.

A fourth of a mile into our trajectory, a mother and her child crossed our path.

The child was screaming and lashing out with feet and fists.

The mother attempted to rationalize with the child and grabbed her hand.

The little girl responded by delivering a hard kick to her mother’s shin.

At this point, I braced myself for the worse.

I thought, any second now, Roxy and I are going to be eyewitnesses to the mother of all spankings.

However, this didn’t happen.

The mother, hair disheveled, coat stained, and lips pursed, walked away while the little girl followed slowly.

A minute later, the mother turned back, grabbed the little girl’s hand, and they continued on their way.

I watched the scene curiously, wondering why consequences hadn’t ensued.

Was the little girl a problem child?
Was the mother too tired to care?
Were they both just having a really bad day?

I smiled as I thought how differently I would have reacted to this scene 18 years ago, when my own children were young.

At that time, I would have deemed the mother weak; incapable of controlling her child.

I would’ve wondered who the hell was in charge and prompted the mother to take control of the situation.

Yet now, almost two decades later, my reaction was completely different.

After surveying the scene, something told me this mother was at the end of her rope and didn’t need me to judge her.

As Roxy and I continued our walk, I remembered a letter I received this morning from a young lady whom I love very much.

The letter contained a detailed account of the difficulties she was experiencing.

Her refusal to accept things the way they were, her disappointment at not finding solutions to life’s problems, her trepidation of a future that seemed bleak.

Her words saddened me, yet upon reaching the last paragraph, I read the following sentence:
“I feel that when I write to you, it’s like I’m writing in a journal. No criticism. No negativity. No judgement. Just fairy dust. I love you.”

One foot in front of the other, Roxy and I continued to valiantly cut through the mist.

Like the mist, my heart was heavy.

Heavy at the thought that many times we don’t consider people’s circumstances before deciding it’s acceptable to judge them.

We assume the role of judge, jury and executioner, without really knowing the why of their situation.

We conclude.
We assume.

We think we know why things are happening.

We don’t take the time to listen with our hearts; to give the benefit of the doubt.

As I recalled the young lady’s letter, I thought of the little girl who had lashed out at her mother.

How different and yet how similar they both were.

Angry, frustrated, and rebellious.

Yet underneath, both fearful at the thought of being left behind; of being left alone.

I felt relieved that with the passing of time, I had outgrown the need to judge and condemn.

And that now, my not so little girl considered me a sprinkler of fairy dust.

Making my way home, I noticed the mist was far from lifting.

Yet I knew that eventually, it would disperse and we’d have a clear view.

Eventually.

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56 thoughts on “Will the fog eventually lift?

  1. Bella, this is so profound, and you’re a better person than most, to have used the knowledge and experience you have gained to be able to see the resemblance into how you raised your children so many years ago and what was happening between that mother and child. You’re right, it is so easy, and we are so quick, to pass judgement. I like how your little girl thinks of you as a sprinkler of fairy dust. How sweet. Well, once again you’ve given me something to ponder… :)

    1. Monica, as always, I am delighted that you like the post! And more importantly, that I’ve given you food for thought! :) It is very sweet to realize that my “not so little” girl thinks I sprinkle fairy dust. The letter just made me cry. Seriously. It’s not till our own kids are grown that we realize how much stressful parenting can be at times. I’m glad we don’t have to put up with any more kicks in the shin! :)

  2. It is awesome that your daughter feels so supported and loved by you. May we all make our children feel that way, someday if not today.

    I can also remember those horrible days as a parent, when you have just HAD it, and felt you needed to walk away for a few moments.

    I felt sprinkled with fairy dust simply reading your post. Thanks. :-)

    1. Beverly, I too remember the days when I ended up taking more “time outs” than my kids! Actually, my “not so little girl” is my niece and as I hope you’re able to tell by the post, we have a lovely relationship. I am honored that you felt sprinkled with fairy dust, lady! Thank you for your kind words! :)

  3. Lovely post, Bella! Congratulations on raising such a loving, forgiving daughter. Yes, parenting can be stressful; yes, we all handle it badly on occasion. Somehow our kids manage to grow up in spite of our mistakes. I love the fairy dust, too!

    1. Debbie, I’m tickled pink you liked the post! Like I mentioned to Beverly, this special young lady is my niece, whom I love like a daughter. Like you, I’m relieved that our children manage to grow up in spite of our parenting mistakes. My kids and I have a wonderful relationship. I am so grateful that in spite of life’s hardships, it turned out like this. I’m delighted you like the fairy dust, lady! :)

  4. So well-said, Bella. Not only the stuff about judging others, but how the young lady you speak of, feels when talking to you. So many people want to judge or give advice. How wonderful for you to just listen to her and be there for her. I am thinking of this quote after reading this : “When you judge someone, you do not define them. You simply define yourself as someone who needs to judge.”
    – Wayne Dyer

    1. Micheal Ann, this wonderful quote serves to enhance this post! Thank you for sharing it with us. Like you mention, more often than not, it’s best to be there for someone, without judgement or criticism. Sometimes all a person wants is the company of someone who won’t say, “I told you so.”

    1. Jann, I’m delighted that you like it! Sometimes it takes the act of witnessing something that seems mundane, to remind us that there may be something deeper beneath the layers. I think that’s what happened this morning. Grazie, amica! :)

  5. I love Michael Ann’s quote… so true. I would have judged that mother before having kids of my own… or mothering nieces, nephews and playmates! She simply chose not to engage in her daughter’s tantrum… a smarter woman than I !!
    Your last line is perfect…. maybe the intro to a great book :)

    1. Astra, we all have so many great book ideas! Methinks we should get together and write an anthology of short stories! One that will include life lessons and humor! What do you think? Holler if you’re on board! :) I totally agree with you–it’s easy to judge when we haven’t walked a mile in the person’s shoes. Not engaging was the best strategy that mom could have used. :)

  6. Love that photo…and I think we often too quickly judge. An incident that woke me up was the day a young girl (about 10 or 11) spat (and I mean really spat) on another woman’s baby in a stroller. Like you I thought ‘oh hell’… but the mother with the baby merely wiped the baby’s face and kept walking. A short moment later I realized why. The young girl was mentally impaired. Couldn’t tell from a distance, but upon closer inspection, watching the exasperated mother (like in your prose) trying to handle the young girl, it was obvious.

    …ump…though come to think on it, I’m not sure if many of our parents differentiated? Did they?

    Wonderful thoughts. And again beautiful prose.

    1. RYCJ, thank you for sharing your story. It truly takes a nobleness of spirit to consider and dismiss gently the actions of those who don’t know better. Kudos to that mom for being so understanding. Just like you mention, at times we easily jump to conclusions, reach verdicts and lay down the law without first stopping to evaluate the circumstances. Were we all to be as compassionate as the mother of your story. I’m delighted you liked the post! :)

  7. I remember you telling me that it was always important to see things from different points of view because we never knew what that person was going through! Oh and that picture is beautiful :)

  8. Amen Bella. Amen and amen. There’s something to the saying that wisdom comes with age. I recall a time when I judged mothers who didn’t control their children. I was much more “efficient” at disciple than they ;-) Of course that attitude was nothing but pride. With my first two, I was much sterner than with the youngest (and last). This is such a meaningful message, dear heart. And that photo of the mist… oh I want to steal it! I love misty images.

    1. Debra, misty photos may be beautiful but walking in the fog left Roxy and me looking like Lion King on a bad hair day! hee hee! In regard to judging other mothers and thinking things could be done better–I know exactly what you mean. Been there. Done that. However, life is the greatest school of all and its hard knocks teach us that the tables can turn and we can just as easily be in someone else’s shoes. I’m so pleased you liked the post, Debra. And by all means, steal the photo! What’s mine is yours! :)

  9. I love this post and as mami of two girls I feel like I’ve been there with you.
    I also adore your king heart and your amazing photographer skills!
    Is too much to ask, what city is this?

    1. Ofelia, being the mother of two would surely qualify you as an authority! :) I love children but my heart goes out to mothers who have to deal with public tantrums. I think it’s the hardest part of motherhood. I truly do. I am honored you think I’m a worthy amateur photographer. Aw, thank you for that! The city of this photo starts with an R! Try to guess where I am! :)

    2. OMG I’m terrible at guessing games so here are my choices:
      Rotherham in The United Kingdom or Rotterdam in The Netherlands or Rouen France or Rome in Italy or REYKJAVIK in Iceland or I don’t know!!!!!!

  10. –Beautiful writing… I love how you used the fog as symbolism in your story! I sooo appreciate that.

    ***“I feel that when I write to you, it’s like I’m writing in a journal. No criticism. No negativity. No judgement. Just fairy dust. I love you.” ***

    This is how I feel about you, Bella :))

    1. Kim, you are beautiful! And your beautiful words have made my day! I’m delighted you got the symbolism of the fog. I was really aiming for that! :)

  11. Bella, you are my Chicken Soup, only much more eloquent and much more meaningful. I hope you know how much your words impact me and how much your posts make me think :)

    1. Laura, and your words reaffirm one of the reasons I blog. Thank you, thank you for your ever present support. You don’t know how much it means to me, lady!

  12. My reaction is also different when I see kids acting out. We just don’t know all of the circumstances. On top of that, I don’t think spankings are the answer anymore. Little Totsy received less spankings because my parenting style changed. As I later began watching Dr. Phil (and yeah, I’m pretty faithful at tuning in), I feel like it was the right thing and she is no worse off for the change but I think, better.

    It’s so great when they do become older and able to confide in an adult whom they love and know someone will simply be there. Life can sometimes be hard enough without the extra “stuff”. The fog will lift. May have to shift directions a bit and be okay with it.

    1. Totsy, I love your insight–“The fog will lift. May have to shift directions a bit and be okay with it.” It’s so true that sometimes in life, we have to take detours and change our course if we want to get to where we have to be. Good for you for making the necessary adjustments to your parenting style! I’m happy my niece is able to confide in me because she knows that no matter what, there will be no judgement. I think that’s the way we should treat our young adults. It’s more productive, after all. :)

  13. Stopping to consider the very real possibility that we don’t have the full picture, and that we don’t know another person’s full story, is where it’s at. It’s hard to do. It’s much easier to launch into judgement. I’m still practicing. Thanks for the thoughts!

    1. Hello lady! I’m glad for your feedback! You’re right–it’s not fair to judge someone’s circumstances without knowing what’s going on. Even then, it’s not wise to pass judgement. Many times people will keep details of their lives private and like you mention, we don’t have the full scope of what’s taking place. My hat comes off to you for practicing! :)

  14. Bella, you are truly amazing! What an insightful, delicious post! I loved it! You remember the old Peanuts cartoon, when Lucy would hang out her shingle that read ‘Advice 5 cents’? Well, you need to hang out your shingle. But I don’t know what you would put for a price, because the advice and insight you give is invaluable. Thank you for today!

  15. Waiting for a clear view… so true!! Too bad more of us don’t wait for that lifting, but instead, we assume we know everything. Excellent reminder for us to take a step back. =)

  16. Oh Bella..so so very well said. I love that you watched, and waited..contemplating your initial reaction and then pondering why the woman reacted the way she did, and how she handled the situation. I too would’ve cringed waiting for the mother of all spankings. A very good friend of mine who is the daughter of a Buddhist reverend lent me a book and in it I read something that to this day sticks and holds true..and it is the gist of what you write…hold your judgements for you do not know what journey the person walks and what weight they hold. It is such a gift that you are here for us to pop in and read and “grab a cuppa” with to ponder this life’s journey with. Thank you Bella!

    1. Bella, your kind words lift my spirit! Thank you! I’m so glad you shared the story you read in that book with us! How utterly true! I’m honored to have every one of you drop by my wee blog. I truly am! It really makes blogging worthwhile. I’m grateful, lady! :)

  17. I love you! This made me cry. We have all judged or been judged at some point in our lives. At times I find myself passing judgement and stop myself because I know how tragic and hurtful it can be. I feel that when I change the “size” of the scope of which I see life through, I can focus more on myself and my happiness and wellbeing. I lift a huge weight of off my self and soul, I can breathe. Because I am not assuming or judging or consuming my life with figuring out why people do things or choose the life they choose. I am starting to realize that in the end we need to use that energy and convert it into one more laugh, ounce of joy, or pound of happiness and invest in ourselves. We sometimes use too much of our being, trying to figure others out and expend mental energy on things that don’t have anything to do with us. And I’ve to admit it’s exhausting, and I am just ready to enjoy the fairy dust falling on me for a change.

    1. Aw, mami, I love you too! I’m so proud of you and your decision to live life closer to your being. You will feel the joy of investing in yourself and those you care about. You will no longer feel drained, exhausted, or weary. Think how wonderful it will be to think positively for once, and not dwell on the negative aspects of people, places, and situations. I know that before long, you’ll write me again and say, “No need to sprinkle too much fairy dust. I’m swimming on my own again!” I believe in you. You’ve got this. :)

  18. Bella, beautiful use of imagery, starting with the photo. I don’t think I could add anything profound not already said by the others, except to say as fellow Latin woman, we learn to manage our fiery tempers. Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s grace, or maybe finally have walked enough miles to see the world for what it is.

    1. Brenda, trust you to come up with something as beautiful as “We have walked enough miles to see the world for what it is.” I love it! And I believe you’re right. Experience, age, time equips us with the wisdom and the knowledge needed to rise above the menial things in life. These are the times I’m glad to be as old as I am! :) I’m delighted you like the post and photo, sister!

  19. Wow, what a powerful post, Bella. I have an 11-year-old who continually pushes my buttons and it’s so frustrating. She doesn’t kick my shins, but the things she says are like a swift kick to the shin.

    I do try to realize I’m the adult and I do walk away from her emotionally with my lips pursed because I am hurt. I hope things work out for us the way they have for you and your daughter.

    1. Oh lady, you have no idea how many times I’ve had to walk away with pursed lips as well! I don’t think we would be able to get through motherhood if it weren’t for those times we walk away from a situation that is sure to escalate if we don’t do so. My children were for the most part very well-behaved but like all children, they had their days. On those occasions, it took all my will power and lots of prayer to get through the day. The good new–they turned out perfectly lovely! So hang in there! You’re going to be fine! :)

    1. Belle, I had a nice Thanksgiving! Would you believe I haven’t eaten anything all day today? I’m still stuffed from yesterday! I hope your day was lovely too! :)

  20. This was beautiful, it made me cry. I like how you show the way in which judgment divides us from others, keeps us separate. We all have so much internal judgment, we don’t necessarily need it from others:).

    1. Patrice, I am touched that you liked this post! I couldn’t agree with you more–judgement does annihilate us and most of the time. If we consider how much we already ruminate, judgement from others just makes the burden too heavy. Thank you for the insight! :)

  21. Well, I’m touched you’re touched that I am touched :). This is an important topic and I think of it often. It’s really a practice I think. I tell myself to be curious, to take a deep breath and wait. It helps.

    1. Patrice, most definitely deep breaths help. I find they provide me with the few second that are necessary to remind myself to hold my tongue or divert my thoughts in another direction! :)

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