This isn't me! Or at least, it wasn't me!
I am not, or at least, I was not, one of those timid women who cowered in the face of adversity. I have always been able to say what I think and admonish where admonishment was needed. So, I am exasperated at my own behaviour in our local park the other day. Indeed, it has infuriated me so much, that I am still admonishing myself about it!
Let me fill you in on what happened!
I am sitting on the bench, happily watching my little boy mucking around with some other kids on the swings and slides. He is getting mucky as it had been raining earlier and the ground is wet. I just sit there smiling because he is enjoying himself. I exchange the odd pleasantry with another mother. I am enjoying myself too. Then, out of nowhere, our fun is ruined.
Three teenage boys hoist themselves up onto the bigger slide and sit at the top smoking. Our children are playing just underneath as one of the boys flicks his ash down towards them. I am incensed and get up to caution them but they don't care. I ask them politely to move to let the children play and to find somewhere else to hang out. The expletives and obscenities showered upon me are too horrible to repeat. One of them poured a can of lager down the slide and made a rude gesture at me.
The other mother gathered her children and left immediately and, after a little hesitation, I did the same. I did not want my child to witness any more of their vulgarity. And I am ashamed to say, that I was also very scared.
I wish, in that situation, that I had been like I was before I became a mother. Back then, I would have challenged them more. I would have been angrier. I would not have been so scared. I would not have just walked away. But these days, the fear rises inside me like bile, and I worry that I would not be around for my little boy, if something were to happen.
I am a forty something first time mum and I want to be around for my son for as long as I can. This is what motivates me to avoid danger these days. That's what I want to think anyway. My mother says that she feels like this nearly all the time. She thinks the older you get the more vulnerable you get and the more fearful you get.
I would love to know what others think and what others would have done in this situation. Did I do the right thing?