I’d Like To Thank My Mom for Leaving Me In The Supermarket When I Was Two

My first and best lesson in boundaries.

Let me preface this story by saying that I was a weirdly precocious child. At six months old, I was speaking in full sentences, in a low, raspy voice. I must have resembled a real-life Chuckie doll with straight black hair.

I was an independent and overly confident child who, at age five, left the house with my baby brother in a stroller, and our full-grown black lab on a leash, and walked to the park without telling my parents. I was returned an hour later by a very angry, (and frankly judgmental woman) who found me in the park struggling to get my baby brother back into his stroller while he was throwing a tantrum because it was time to go home. (I would have had him if she had given me another minute.) My mom looked at me with pride as this stranger openly questioned her parenting skills. Somehow, I was lucky enough to end up with the one set of parents who weren’t afraid to both nurture my free-spirit and also educate me about life.

So picture this: I was in the supermarket with my mom, two-years-old, fully verbal and ready to do anything necessary to get that Hershey bar in the candy aisle. When I asked and my mom said no, I did what any self-respecting two-year-old would do and had a full-blown meltdown. According to my mom, I became a puddle on the floor, flailing my arms and legs and screaming as if I was being physically tortured.

My mom’s response? Calmly release her grip on the full shopping cart and head for the door.

“Ma’am, you forgot your child.”

“I know. I don’t negotiate with terrorists,” was her response to the well-meaning but clearly oblivious stranger.

It didn’t take me long to realize what had happened, pick myself up, dust myself off, and follow my mom out of the store.

I had zero sense of defeat. In fact, looking back, I believe I felt I had won that battle. Why? Because she gave me what I actually needed at that moment: Boundaries.

Her willingness to leave a shopping cart full of groceries, in order to teach me about boundaries at age two STILL has an impact on my life. This exact moment planted the seed for me to learn how to say no, how to best use my voice and my power for good, and how to ask for what I truly want.

So thank you, mama, for leaving me in the grocery store when I was two. And for refusing to negotiate with terrorists. Well done, and sorry about the groceries.

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Alexandra Rizzi

International Student Advisor | Mindful writing coach. I empower people to see their potential. https://www.studentservicesinternational.us/