I was five years old when I got caught shoplifting.
It’s one of those definable moments in life that a person never forgets. And it’s funny that today this memory would bubble to the surface of my mind.
I’m not quite sure what triggered this memory. Perhaps it’s because I’m hanging out at the local Border’s on Michigan Ave again (free WiFi … gotta love it!) Or maybe it’s because I happened to see a little kiosk in front of Macy’s that had stuff similar to the chotskies I stole at the tender age of five.
Anyway, I can remember shopping with my mom at Oakland Mall one Saturday afternoon when the incident happened. It must have been around Easter or Christmas, because all I could remember was having to try on frilly dresses that I had no intention of keeping clean once I wore them. Distracted by the ribbons and laces on third floor of Hudson’s, my Mom left me to my own device around the girls section.
I naturally found my way over to the little Sanrio kiosk located close to the girly accessories. The little Asian girl in me absolutely looooved Hello Kitty and secretly wished she could be Hello Kitty’s twin sister, Mimmy. As Mom continued to be distracted by polyester and rayon (it was the late 70’s at that time … breathable stain-free fabric for kids still hadn’t been invented), I thought about how cool it would be to have this pocket sized colored pencil and paper set complete with Hello Kitty stickers. Because they were so small, I didn’t think twice about putting them in my purple hippo Garanimal pants.
And because my Mom just happened to call me at that moment to try on a few dresses, I quite honestly forgot about my new treasure until we got home. Which of course, when I discovered it in my pocket, I immediately went to my bedroom and began to draw with my new mini-colored pencil set.
I probably would have gotten off scott free if my Mom didn’t catch me playing with my new “toy” the next morning before Mass. In which I can remember the shame I immediately felt when she asked me where I got those pencils. Without my Mom having to say any more words, I broke down and sobbed; confessing that I took them from the store the day before.
Now is the time I can tell you about this particular look my Mom would give Dr. Bro and me whenever she was angry. In our teenage years, Dr. Bro and I would call it “The Eyes.”
Yes … Eyes. As in plural. Because she just wouldn’t give us the “stink eye” where one eye would squint while the other eye glared at you intensely with the corresponding eyebrow severely arched in an upward manner. No … my Mom’s look was more like two normally big eyes bulging out to two times its normal size. Both eyebrows would be arched to the extreme while she glared at you as if lasers would shoot from her eyes to burn every fiber of hair on our heads. Needless to say, Dr. Bro and I would run and take cover whenever “The Eyes” would come out.
I distinctly remember the look in my Mom’s face when I confessed about stealing the pencil and pad set. Because it wasn’t “The Eyes.” Rather, it was this strange mixture of shock and sadness. As she stood speechless in front of me for a few moments, I suddenly felt smaller than I ever had been in the five short years of my life. I can recall feeling that way because I knew my shoplifting caused her to have that expression … and I hated knowing that I disappointed her so badly. At that moment, I almost wished I would have gotten “The Eyes” instead of that other look.
After she recovered from my confession, I was told to go to my room where I would wait anxiously until she returned. That’s when I got the lecture about stealing, which of course was reinforced by the Seventh Commandment. Then it was off to Mass where I had to pray to God for forgiveness. Afterward, we went straight to the mall where my Mom would make me give back what I stole and tell the store clerk that I was very sorry.
Obviously it was a very good method of learning from one’s mistake, because I’ve never shoplifted again since that incident.
I’ve seen “The Eyes” many times in my life; especially during those high school and college years. But I had never seen that other look since my shoplifting incident. I’ve never seen her disappointed in me as much as she was that Sunday morning.
To me, that is an extremely important thing to remember. Because even during the worst days of my infertility journey, when I felt as if I was as small as that five-year old version of me, she’s never me shown that “Other Look.”
Which, to me, means that even though *I* feel as if I’ve disappointed both her and my Dad by not giving them the grandchildren they so deserve, my Mom isn’t.
Disappointed in me, that is.
Whew … is Easter here yet?! Oh yes, only 10 more days left of this Lenten Crusade.
Daily Random Act of Kindness: Ugh. Having a hard time remember what good deed I’ve done today. Short of holding elevators for complete strangers and holding doors open for fellow employees, I can’t think of anything significant. Eesh … perhaps I need to make it up tomorrow with a better good deed.
Daily Thought of Gratitude: Not sure if I already said this in the past 30 or so days or this exercise, but I’m thankful for mass transportation. I love that I can get to places without having to drive myself (or have Hubby drive). I love that I can jump on a bus and travel down one end of Michigan Avenue to the other. But another unexpected benefit of mass transit is that I find myself getting more walking time in; it forces me to be active for more than I normally would have been if I was still living in Detroit.
Okay. I’m tired … and I still have another day of work in front of me before the weekend. Think I’m calling it a night!!