Flashback: The know-it-all grandma and her acts of ignorance

Flashback: The know-it-all grandma and her acts of ignorance

Dear readers: This flashback feature originally appeared on Grandma's Briefs July 24, 2014. Thank you for reading my (updated) rerun.

I'm often asked by family, friends—and sometimes even strangers—for answers and directions on a variety of topics. I'm happy to say that I can usually give them what they seek. My husband often jokingly calls me Google; my daughters consider me one of the best researchers they know.

Which makes it difficult to not fancy myself a know-it-all at times.

To keep things in check—meaning, to deflate my occasionally oversized ego and obnoxiously large noggin'—I need only recall one or more of the times I was clearly not in the know. At all. The times I didn't know what the heck I should have known, whether I pretended to know it or not.

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The town crier

I'm so mad I could spit. But before I explain why, I need to tell you something: I cry. A lot. About all kinds of things. I cry when I see something sad ... or joyous; when I hear stories of huge emotion -- happy, sad or otherwise; when I listen to songs that make the heart swell ... or break; and when I tell someone of such things.

Yep, I'm a crier. Not because of PMS or any other hormonal horrors; it's just who I am, always have been. Everyone in my family knows it, understands it, no longer even skips a beat when mom's a little verklempt and needs a moment to collect herself.

That's the backstory. Now the story:

I was at Walmart Wednesday, picking up items I needed for Bubby's visit: diapers, baby wipes, Danimal yogurt thingees, frozen waffles and more.

Of course while I was there, I just happened to pass the toy aisles all the way on the opposite side of the store and ended up throwing into the cart all kinds of things I didn't need -- but that Bubby would enjoy during his visit: sandbox toys, Matchbox cars, a rug printed with streets for those Matchbox cars to traverse. I even got a pair of pint-sized swim goggles. Not that we'll be swimming while Bubby's here (Grandma can't swim to save her life, much less his) but I bet he'll enjoy wearing them around the house anyway.

So I'm in line with my cart piled high with things I don't really need, things Bubby doesn't really need. There's three people ahead of me, the one at the register being a young mom in her early 20s with a baby in a carrier and a five- or six-year-old boy waiting patiently at her side as many of her goods are being scanned ... in the opposite direction, removing them from her bill. She's holding a handful of cash while produce and school supplies and a little boy's backpack are stacked to the side for returning to the shelves. She silently picks through her cart, deciding whether she and her little ones really need the grapes or the toilet paper, steering clear of the baby formula. The formula's a necessity; other things aren't. Like the little boy's backpack. To which he simply, quietly, watched move out of his grasp when the cashier placed it in the return pile. He just stood there, silently waiting as Mom searched for more ways to pinch her few pennies.

The two people in line between the mom and me -- with my big ol' cart of unnecessary items -- huffed and puffed and shuffled and moaned.

As they shuffled, I looked from the backpack to the boy, back to the backpack, to the mom. I desperately wanted to step forward and tell Mom that I'd pay for the rest, to hand over my debit card for her remaining items, including the backpack. Especially the backpack.

But I didn't. I just stood there. Because I felt the tears coming and I couldn't live with myself if I broke down in tears at Walmart. Even if I overcame the humility and moved forward, the poor young mom wouldn't understand what the cuss I was saying because when I'm verklempt I'm hard as cuss a teensy bit difficult to understand.

So I watched ... then stared down at my cart, scrunching up my face to keep in the tears. I said nothing, did nothing, as the mom finally reached a grocery bill she could afford. Then she and her little ones quietly wheeled away to the parking lot. Without the backpack.

The parking lot! That's what I'll do, I thought. I'll hurry and find her in the parking lot and give her some cash. I quickly looked in my wallet, found $6 and determined to give her it when I headed to the car, to tell her to go back in and buy the cheap little backpack for her son.

But I didn't do it. For when I finished paying -- fighting tears the entire time -- I got to the parking lot, watched the mom buckling baby into the car ... and felt tears and blubbering threatening to erupt. I couldn't approach her. She'd think I'm crazy. And I'd likely offend her -- and scare her little boy -- with my bawl-baby antics over their situation.

So I wheeled right on by and filled my trunk with my junk, just as the tears started down my cheeks.

Then I got in my car and kicked myself all the way home. I was so mad at myself I wanted to spit. But instead I cried. And hid my face when I passed the neighbor. And continued crying while unloading Bubby's bags o' fun.

Then I sat down at the computer to write this because I simply had to let someone know how very mad I am at myself for being a cussin' crier. For taking no action because I'm a crier. For not doing the right thing, the thing that would have made a world of difference to one little boy and his cash-strapped mom. Because I'm a crier.

I just needed to tell someone that. But I couldn't tell it to someone in person.

Because I would cry.

Today's question:

What is something you do despite hating that you do it?