We’ve all been where we’ve witnessed something in public that horrifies us. Whether it deals with impatience, entitlement, or just plain disregard for another human being, people do some pretty crazy things. And when people do things that really get under our skin, we can’t help but say something. And that’s what happened to one woman when she was out with her niece and significant other.
Tara, her fiancé, and niece, were out on a beautiful morning at a café when another woman did something that didn’t sit well with them. Not only was this woman rude to the couple, and insulted them, but she pretty much physically abused her grandson in front of everyone therea, thinking no one would say anything or stand up to her. But when someone did, the woman’s behavior only got worse.
Tara was beyond excited to be with her niece for the weekend. Not only could her and her niece (Abby) be together, but they could spend the day with Tara’s significant other (Grace).
Tara had “bouncy, giggly, two year old” Abby for three whole days. Tara’s brother-in-law and his wife went on an anniversary trip, so it was just the three of them! And since it was a great day to be outside, Tara and Grace decided that for fun, and because Abby really loves animals, they were going to take her to the zoo. But first, they had to stop for breakfast. And unfortunately, as they waited to have their meal, they realized they probably should have gone somewhere else.
They arrived at a local café, and brought their dog because it was so beautiful, and chose to sit outside on the patio. So it's Tara, Grace, Abby, and Tara’s dog at an outside table, waiting for their food. Grace was playfully entertaining Abby with a simple matching card game that Abby absolutely LOVES, and Tara was nonchalantly “fishing ice cubes out of [her] water to toss at pupper, who loves crunching ice,” when they saw a little boy, and her- the hateful grandmother/mother-in-law.
The three of them were minding their own business when they saw this woman. The woman seemed to be a grandmother, because she (we’ll call her Marg) was holding the hand of a “bouncing baby boy,” who was close to Abby’s age. The boy (we'll call Ricky) saw Tara, Grace, and Abby, and waddled over to the table near them. His little expression made it seem like he was concentrating very hard on walking, but his attention was completely taken over when Abby, who was learning her words. And just as soon as Abby saw Ricky coming over in her direction, decided to say something.
"Boy!" she said, as she pointed to the other toddler. In response, Grace nodded encouragingly, said "Yes,” and continued, “That's a boy. What are you?"
"Girl!" Abby yelled out with delight.
"Yes!" Grace replied, proud of Abby. As Tara was watching her future wife and niece interact, she gazed at Grace “fondly - she is so good with kids.” Grace was, without a doubt, a natural. Plus, Abby looked like she could be Tara and Grace’s biological daughter, (“if two ladies could procreate without sperm." Abby is actually mixed- her father dark skinned, and her mother fair). So, Abby is a “beautiful mix.” Tara assumed their appearance (two biracial females with their daughter) may have started the aggravation from grandmother, Marg, but Tara wasn’t quite sure yet. But she was sure about to find out.
After drawing his attention, Ricky noticed Tara’s dog. So, he then excitedly yelled “Dog!” and asked “Can pet?” Tara hesitated at first, but when she realized his grandmother didn’t seem to notice or care, so she gave Ricky the go ahead, nodded, and said “Ask Grandma," and Ricky looks over. “Can pet?” Ricky asked his grandmother. Marg was unimpressed by the dog, “which should be impossible”- because Tara’s dog, like any other adorable friendly pup, “melts the coldest of hearts." But Ricky’s grandmother nodded yes, only after letting out a seemingly irritated sigh.
Ricky waddled up to Tara’s dog. Tara stopped him just before touching the furry pet, and asked “Do you know how to say hello to a dog?" Ricky thought momentarily, then happily stretched out his hand for the dog to sniff it. Tara’s dog gently took a whiff of Ricky’s hand. And once she found him “acceptable,” plopped on the floor to show her stomach ready for her “desired belly rub.” Tara's dog "makes Shamu look stage shy.”
Ricky immediately giggled and patted her tummy. As soon as the dog twitched her leg, Ricky laughed harder. And as Tara’s dog was receiving a ton of attention, Ricky kept giggling causing Abby to giggle more. Intrigued, Abby squirmed off Grace’s lap to join Ricky in the puppy love, which must have ticked off Ricky’s grandmother, because all of a sudden, Marg snapped.
"Ricky, come here!" she yelled. Her sharp tone was only the beginning of her irritable demeanor.
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Ricky was a little distracted, to say the least, because what kind of human wouldn’t be enamored by such an adorable pup? But Tara tried to turn him to face his grandmother. Yet, before she could, Marg stormed over, and with a quick jolt, she grabbed Ricky by the arm, and slapped him across his tiny face “hard enough for it to practically echo on the patio.”
Abby immediately stopped laughing, Ricky bursted into tears, and Tara’s dog rolled over and then defensively began growling at Marg. Tara and Grace were in shock, staring at Marg, wondering what had just happened. And in fear of what was about to happen, the cafe door swung open. But little did Tara know, things were about to get worse.
The café door swung open, and out walked Ricky’s mother. Confused and worried she asked Marg, “What’s going on?” So, Ricky only cried harder, but freed himself from his grandmother’s death grip, and dashed in the arms of his mother. Clenching and sobbing, Ricky's reaction obviously made Marg uncomfortable, but it was obvious she did something that hurt Ricky, and his mother was ready to get to the bottom of it.
Marg wasn’t planning on getting caught, but thankfully Tara and Grace were there to give their version of what they saw when Ricky’s mother asked them. Tara and Grace were extremely uncomfortable with the child abuse they had just witnessed but as they were about to speak up, Marg interrupted them:
"The dog started growling, it scared him," she lied. Tara mentions that Marg’s statement was “almost impressive--she sounded completely believable, and if I hadn't been there to watch her slap a two-year-old, [she] might have believed her.” But Tara and Grace saw what they saw and had to say something. Plus, Grace “was looking like she was three stiff drinks and a felony away from making Grandma into one of those exhibits on display for the Bodies exhibit at the discovery museum.” - And even though poor Ricky was sobbing because of Marg's inconsiderate actions, Tara didn’t really want Grace to go to jail or anything. So, Tara took control and spoke up for the two of them (and probably everyone else in the vicinity).
"That's not actually what happened," Tara explained, as Marg looked like she was ready to strike. But she didn’t scare Tara."Your mother-in-law slapped your son across the face." Tara said. After hearing the truth, Ricky’s mother was horrified, and stammered back in shock with her hand against her chest.
"I most certainly did not," Marg tried to defend herself. But Tara had other witnesses (and not just those at her table, but everyone else around).
"Did too," Grace blurted out, “tone just shy of outright murderous.” And then Abby innocently chimed in, "Hit," she said. "No hitting." As quick as Ricky cried, Ricky’s mother’s eyes welled up with tears and she scooped him up and away from her Mother-in-law. Just then Tara discovered there was definitely more to the story, and this was not the first time Marg was in trouble for her behavior.
"We've told you we don't do physical discipline," Ricky’s mother said to Marg. Tara could hear trembling in her voice and she continued, "We've told you over and over. How dare you hit him. I'm going to tell [name/her husband]. We've given you too many chances." Clearly Marg had already gotten herself into some heat about this before. So, this wasn't a mistake or misunderstanding, but common occurrence for her.
"I didn't hit him!" Marg still lying, and “clearly doing her best to sound outraged.” "I wouldn't! I understand your rules. You'd believe strangers over your own Mother-in-law?"
"You've done it before," Ricky’s mother insisted. "Why would I believe you? You think these women with a kid of their own would lie to me?" And that’s when Marg showed even more of her true self.
Just as Tara thought this moment couldn’t get anymore awkward or just down right unacceptable, Marg says in defense, "They're mixed and gay, they have no morals," Tara was almost impressed, yet dumbfounded, she went that far. Marg went for the whole shabang: prejudice and homophobia without any hesitation. Marg’s statement summed up her hatred for them in just a few seconds. Tara wanted to take notes on the audacity Marg evoked, but it only continued.
Ricky’s mother needed answers, not lies. So, she continued her interrogation, "Did she slap him?" - now directing her question to Tara and Grace about what they saw. And Tara nodded, yes.
Since this wasn't the first time, Ricky mother proclaimed, "I believe them. I'm telling [husband]. You're going back into time out."- meaning Marg. "Come on, Ricky, sweetie, let's go." And Ricky’s mother walked out clenching her son as close to her as she could. But as soon as Ricky’s mother and him were out of view, Marg turned to Tara and Grace, fuming, her “face apocalyptic in rage.”
Grace, sensing it was time to maybe get out of the horribly tense situation, she swooped Abby up, and went inside the café to avoid “verbal murder.” But Tara spoke again, "You shouldn't have hit a child." And then in another attempt to shut down Marg and her disrespectful nature, stated "And yes, that's my wife and daughter. Yes, we're biracial. I'm so glad age hasn't taken everything from you. Just your sense of decency." To which Marg responded, "You cost me my grandson.”
But Tara would not have it. "You cost yourself your grandson," Tara corrected. "And based on your atrocious behavior, he's better off not having grandma in his life." Tara couldn't hold back at this point. She didn't just want Marg to feel bad, but understand how her behavior not only affects children but everyone else around her. Tara continued, "Can I give you some advice? Grow a heart. Stop hitting children." But Marg kept coming back for more.
"We did it all the time when I was young," Marg said dismissively. "I turned out fine. My daughter-in-law and my son are too protective. The boy will never learn without consequences." Learn? The only thing he'd learn from Marg is to be inconsiderate, homophobic, and abusive, and Tara knew this.
"Yeah, you didn't turn out fine," Tara scoffed. "Unless turning out fine in your book equals continuing the cycle of abuse on your grandchildren. I admire your son for his boundaries. I hope you never see your grandson again." Marg only glared at Tara.
Still holding back her instinct to protect little Ricky, her niece and future wife, Tara took the high road and declared "I have to go continue to have no morals with my family," and with the last word, "Have a very lonely life."
Hopefully Marg will think about her grandchild and the rest of the innocent children in the world when disciplining them or just teaching them any type of behavior. She should take Tara's advice, but probably won't or didn't. We can only hope that since she's in "time-out" from seeing Ricky, she won't be able to mold him into the awful human being she turned out to be.