Sunday, February 7, 2016

My 70-Year Old Bully

My sweet little family attended the Provo City Center temple open house yesterday.  It was a great experience for my kids.  I was so happy they had the opportunity to attend the House of the Lord as children.  Being able to go inside now will one day help them feel familiar with the temple.

My experience, however, was thwarted by an older woman who seemed to be more concerned about the behavior of my kids and judging me as a mom than she was about why we were all there.  I was so upset by her actions that I just wanted to run from the facility!  But I kept my cool as I was there for my kids and not for me (as in a few weeks here, I'll be able to go inside any time I want).

Let me back up...I was unable to secure tickets to the Provo City Center temple open house.  For whatever reason, I missed the Monday at 10:00 am online designated time {or whenever it was} where you could sign up for tickets.  Then I missed it the 2nd time they came available - seems to be my lot in life lately.  But I still wanted our family to attend.  So Friday, my kids were out of school and, trying to avoid a weekend standby line, we decided to go that day right after lunch so my husband could at least get some work done at the office.  It was a bitter, freezing February day in Provo and the standby line didn't appear to be too long so we decided to stand there and wait since we had already driven from Salt Lake.

As we waited, the 8-year old twin boys entertained their 6-year old sister and 4-year old brother by playing just outside our standby line.  They played anything from Hide-And-Seek, I Spy, to Freeze Tag.  I was pleasantly surprised by the way that the kids were entertained (and staying warm!) passing this time.  When we got through the standby line into the actual ticket line, 45 minutes had passed.  We were only expecting to be waiting about 5 minutes as that's what we were informed.  By this time, the 2-year old was well past her nap (need I say more?) and I didn't bring the well-stocked diaper bag from the car because no food or drink was allowed in the temple.  The 6-year old was not happy about that and kept reminding me about it.

As we walked as a family still outside the temple open house but slowly  getting closer, my twin boys were hopping from each chain-stand divider to the next.  I didn't feel like it was infringing on anyone and didn't even think twice about it.  But apparently the grey-haired, heavier set woman about 4 or 5 people behind me thought differently.  When the line abruptly stopped, she loudly scolded my boys, in front of me and several other attendees in line.  "THOSE! ARE! NOT! TOYS!"  she yelled.  My twins and I turned around in kind of an embarrassed shock but decided to just ignore her.  Should they have been hopping on the stands?  I guess not, but were they really doing any harm?  Yet we complied with her "request."  My husband was a little up ahead and didn't see the incident.  Honestly, I was trying not to roll my eyes.  Back off lady, sheesh!  They are just kids.  But she didn't stop there.

We kept walking (the twins stopped hopping) and we came past large pictures of the old tabernacle/now temple that were posted along the wall as we proceeded.  My 6-year old wanted a closer look so we let her, the 4-year old and the 2-year old go under the chain to stand near the wall of pictures as the line had again stopped.  The line started to move before the kids came back so I stayed behind to wait for them.  The same woman approached my kids (almost like she was singling us out) and yelled yet again, "YOU KIDS NEED TO STAY WITH YOUR PARENTS!!"  I was mortified at this moment.  We were almost ready to enter the house of the Lord and I had a stranger screaming at my apparently "wild and unruly" children.

Let me stop here and vent - I'm a good mother.  No, I'm a damn good mother!  My husband and I work so hard for my kids to make sure they are growing up to be model citizens, contributors to society and servants to Heavenly Father.  Are we perfect?  No.  But we sure do try our best!!  For being kids, I consider mine to be pretty well-behaved (especially in this instance) and this woman had no right to be screaming at them and judging me.

So I couldn't let this 70-year old woman bully me anymore without responding.  I turned to her with my heart pounding, mind racing, and I quietly apologized to her.  I said, "I am so, so sorry you have forgotten what it's like to be a child and also to be the parent of one."  I don't know what her response was as I quickly turned and walked away with my kids in hand, literally crying inside.  I was so embarrassed that someone would treat me this way.  What if I wasn't a member of the church and this was my first experience with the LDS church?  I'd never go back - EVER!  Luckily for her, my testimony doesn't reside on her rude actions and I'll always be back.

I'd like to say that once I stepped into the temple that my racing thoughts toward this woman went away and that I was encompassed by the love of Heavenly Father.  But I'm human { this lady pointed out}.  Instead I had my mind set on trying to avoid her at all costs which I was able to do, gratefully!  I'm still trying to forgive her and doing my best to remove my negative thoughts toward her.

But I DO feel sorry for her!  I've never been 70 years old (I know it's got to have its challenges) but I do hope that when I'm that age I don't forget what it's like to have the energy of a child, or what it's like to be enduring parenthood.  What I really could have used was a "Mom, you are doing a great job!  Thank you for bringing your children to the temple!"  But instead, I'll take this experience so I can hopefully say it to a struggling mom one day!


  1. Thank you for being brave enough to share your experience. On Sunday after hearing you, several people opened up about events in their lives, I believe helping them to come to terms with it and also receive support. The irony really makes it sting. But the truth is, since your wonderful little Guys were in nursery we have admired how well behaved and happy your children are. Good Work!

  2. You ARE a damn good mother! I'm so glad you stood up for yourself. I know I wouldn't have been able to do that! You're not the only one who has had a "70 year old bully" and I applaud you for your courage, to not only speak your mind but to also tell the rest of the world!

    1. Nikole, I just love you - thanks for your nice comment!

  3. Okay, this is crazy but we had an old man bully at the Provo Temple Open house last week! For reals. We actually did have tickets last Friday afternoon (and I missed seeing you!!!) with my brothers family. So, he and his wife and brood of five girls, my family with four kids, and my mom and brother......15 of us. We were all meeting there and were unclear about where to meet and get in line. By the time we found each other, my brothers family was already in queue and since we were all on the same ticket voucher we ducked under the chains to join them. Well, the old man behind us found that unacceptable and proceeded to tattle to every person with a name tag, loudly and unrelentingly. We explained that we had the same ticket, that we hadn't been able to find each other prior to that point, offered to let him go ahead of us. Nothing! He was just bent on being grumpy about it and telling everyone in ear shot about us "cheating" to get ahead in the line. and then he started in on the critiques of our nine children's minor behavioral infractions as we waited and waited.....even with tickets Friday turned out to be a long wait. Finally, a volunteer saved us all and came and took that man and his party out of line and up to a new spot. He probably thought he won for being a bully but whatever. It got rid of him and allowed us all to relax and try to regain the spirit of the temple!
    I'm proud of you for actually saying something to that lady.....I usually wimp out and then wish I hadn't!