Dear Staff of My Local Grocery Store —
I appreciate how much you fuss over my daughter. I do. You all seem genuinely delighted when she comes in to visit. You fuss on her, and you compliment her, and your are so friendly to her. It’s really quite lovely.
And I appreciate how many of you are mid-50 year old parents of grown children, or even grandparents, and so you love to be able to coo over small children and pat them and kiss them. And I appreciate that you are from a different generation, when parents all took care of each other’s kids and looked out for them and it-took-a-village-to-raise-a-child and all that.
I understand all that.
But lately, you have been getting a little TOO familiar with That Baby. Picking her up. Taking her hat and mitts and coat off. Asking for hugs and kisses from her. Carrying her around to visit other staff. And, creepifyingly, asking for a lock of her hair from her next haircut.
It’s starting to get weird. It’s getting to be a bit too much.
So, grocery store staff, hear this now.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES IS IT OKAY TO WALK OFF WITH MY CHILD OUT OF MY SIGHT, WITHOUT MY PERMISSION, NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE GOING TO SEE. AND THEN LEAVING HER IN THE BACK OFFICE WITH OTHER STAFF WHERE I CANNOT SEE OR HEAR HER.
I understand that you all know each other, and you know that you have no ill intentions toward my child. But I don’t care about that. All I know is that my daughter is not where I can see or hear her, and unless she is with her father, it is not okay.
IT IS NEVER OKAY TO TAKE A CHILD OUT OF HER PARENT’S SIGHT.
I was so agitated and upset today, I did not have the presence of mind to deal with this issue in an appropriate fashion. It was all I could do to get my daughter bundled up and get into the parking lot before bursting into tears. But rest assured, my husband has NO problem whatsoever about dealing with this problem to ensure it will never happen again.
I hope today you realized by my reaction that what you did was not okay. But whether you did or you did not, rest assured that one way or another, this situation will NOT happen again. And you will understand that I will likely not be a patron of your store for awhile.
Respectfully, if not scared out of her mind,
That Baby’s Mother
Dear That Baby,
I understand how social and personable and funny and self-confident you are. I do. I love that about you.
But please, please — when somebody who is not me or your daddy takes you by the hand and walks you away, PLEASE react. Do something. Kick up a fuss. Cry. Whatever. I don’t care. Just PLEASE send up a signal and I will rush to get you. I don’t care who they are. If they are not me or your daddy, make it known that this is NOT OKAY.
You are my world. You are my heart. If anything were to happen to you, I would die. I would just die.
Love, with all the love it is possible to have, and a healthy dose of fear,