In the line.

I was waiting in line to return something at a store today and the line seemed to be moving at a snails pace. For a store that has so many employees there is rarely ever more than one person at a counter on each floor. I didn’t mind too much but I felt bad for whoever was behind me because I knew my return was a little complicated. My receipt had been rubbed off so I knew it was going to be somewhat of an issue. I finally made it to the counter when something else went wrong in the store and the young man behind the register said he’d be right back. There were two people behind me at this point – a man and two very tiny children who were both girls. They looked so small. How old were they? Where was the adult? Was I really that short when my parents finally let me roam the mall alone…. Probably… I am still very short.. But anyway I was waiting at the counter when I heard chatter among the two of them. One seemed to be pushing the other one to just say excuse me. They both kept looking in my direction and they were giggling. I immediately got concerned I had something on my the back of pants. Then I noticed one looking at the man and the other one shaking her head no with this grin. The smaller of the two finally leaned forward and with a whisper asked “Excuse me but do you know the time” I was so relieved to find out they were just curious about the time of day and not laughing about something stuck to my butt. And then I saw how small they really were. I mean they were so damn tiny and even at my height I felt like a giant compared to them. It was super crowded in the mall and I got so concerned for their safety. What if there was a sudden stampede?! I remember though being that age and begging my parents to let me shop alone with my friends. I remember the look of fear my mom had as she dropped me off each time and I would run off to join up with our group. I remember being the concerned one of my friends as I saw my friends friend reveal a soda cup that she had shoved Victoria Secret underwear into in the dressing room. I remember how I was so nervous to hand my crumpled up money to the cashier like she was going to judge me for it not being perfectly flat. I also remember feeling like a boss ass bitch while we walked the levels of the mall in our group. We would laugh about how other kids still had to hold their moms hands. But one thing never occurred to my younger mall roaming self and that was about the dangers of life. I don’t ever remember being concerned over the possibility that something would occur in the mall like the stories you hear these days. Of course my parents told me not to talk to strangers but they never prepared me for what to do if someone were to pull a gun or if the ground shook without warning. Do parents tell these things to kids before they let go of their hand now? Do you sit in constant fear in another part of the mall wondering where your child is? Do you even leave the parking lot after dropping them off or do you wait in the fire lane praying to see their little smiles return to the car on the dot of the exact time you told them to be outside? I just can’t imagine it. I know you shouldn’t live in constant fear but seeing those two girls leave into the sea of people just had my heart racing. I just wanted them to be safe and all the other ones running around as well. But the one thing I love about kids is that they have such a bright outlook on life. They just ran out in chuckles clutching their oversized bags and headed towards another store. They shouldn’t have to worry over these things. They should be able to go around and enjoy being a kid unfazed by what could happen. So carry on little ones and be safe. I’ll just be over here realizing what a worry wart I’ve become.

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