Yesterday we spent the day with our close friends at a local beach. We took our boat over, docking right in front of the swing set. I wish I could say that was on purpose, but it wasn’t. It was just where we landed.
Anyway, the adults sat on the boat for a while and the kids went off to play. Our little ones went to swing. My 5-year-old and my friend’s 6-year-old were swinging on swings. The 6-year-old — let’s call her Curly Girl for her gorgeous hair — jumped off the swing to ask her dad to push us. Little Girl held her swing, saving it for her. A much smaller child walked over and tried to get on the swing. I was not privy to the discussion, but I assume my daughter was telling the child that she was holding the swing for her friend. A few seconds later Curly Girl came back and jumped on the swing.
The whole time I was like, oh, that’s a problem. Just as I was going to get up and say something, the little girl’s mother came over, reprimanded our girls, making Curly Girl get off the swing. Both of our girls started crying — which is expected when you’re a child and an adult you don’t know comes over to yell at you. My friend’s husband (also my close friend) jumped off the boat to intervene. As soon as he jumped off the boat and hit the sand three beefy guys started running toward him, one of them THROWING something that hit his back.
They surrounded him. It looked menacing. I went into action and jumped off the boat and into the middle of the circle, standing in front of my friend. I told the guys they were goons, and that it was rude for the woman to scare little children. It escalated so, once I knew my friend was safe, I walked away.
My friend and the goons argued for a bit, but eventually it died down. Still, it sort of took the wind out of the sails of the day. The worst part is that we go there every weekend. My husband was upset that we will see them again and our happy place would have a cloud hanging over it. There would be people who we have A THING with.
To his credit, at the end of the day one of the guys I called a goon came over, apologized for getting heated and pointed out that we would be at the beach together all summer. No hard feelings, right? I apologized, too, and told him that if he ever had a problem with my child he could come to me right away. That we are strict with our kids. I definitely feel better about it. That beach is like a mini town. Everyone knows everyone. When you pull in, people catch your lines. If you need something your fellow boaters are right there to help out. You end up chatting with whomever you’re docked next to. It’s a really nice experience.
Not wanting to miss a teachable moment I took the opportunity, when we got home, to tell my little one that she is not allowed to hold swings for friends. It’s rude. I also told her that the men who yelled at our friend and threw stuff at him were VERY wrong. That’s not the way to react when you are upset. And that our friend was wrong for fighting with the men, too. If Mommy handled it she would have gone over and asked the woman to please refrain from disciplining her. (FWIW: I also would have communicated that it was really inappropriate for her to tell my kid to get off the swing. But I didn’t tell her that. Besides, what’s done is done.)
The day ended on a positive note, though. As the guy was walking away from our boat after his apology he left us with some parting words. “Sometimes people get crazy when it comes to their kids.” Yes, that’s true, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay. Especially when you end up throwing something at someone’s back.