I glanced towards the older brother looking on in the background. He had that same perturbed look as my children do at times. The one that’s full of fear as the tantrum escalates, just wishing that his brother would cooperate and stop making a scene. The boy continued to resist until the grandmother lost her footing and stumbled, catching herself on the plastic, horizontal slats of the pool chair. Her patience had run out. In that instant, I was torn between overstepping any boundaries and following my instinct. I wanted to jump up and tell her I know her battles, while taking her belongings and following her to her car so she could wrestle with the defiant boy. And then my inhibitions held me back. What if I was wrong and my presumptions were offensive?
So instead I stayed silent as she clutched his arm and quickly rounded the edges of the pool and disappeared through the gate. Months later, the tarp covers the pool and the children’s bathing suits are replaced with jeans, but thoughts of that woman are still in my head. I feel guilty that I didn't help and, if I see her next year, I won't hesitate to step in. So what if I’m wrong? Staying silent is far worse.
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