I would not listen.
I made the "shh" sound quietly as I put my finger to my lips. I was on my cell phone and he wanted my attention. People began to stare. I could imagine they were thinking what a terrible mom I was for ignoring my little guy and choosing to talk on my cell instead. I was nearly in tears at my little guy's screams of frustration, but no one offered to help with him, they just simply stared and whispered out of the sides of their mouths, behind their hands. I strained to hear my phone call; I put my finger in my other ear so I could hear better.
Suddenly, my little guy threw something, I don't know what, onto the floor. I was nearly undone.
Why not just hang up the phone? Why not just tell the person I'd call them back? I could not. I would not.
The person on the other end of the phone was also my son.....was once my little guy.....and he was in Iraq and the war was raging....and I knew that it could very well be the last time I ever talked to him. It was stressful; there was a 3-second delay between our words to each other.
So, I let my little guy cry. And I ignored him. And I talked to my other son on my cell phone in public. And I let the judgments fly. And, as I did every single time he called, I cried my heart out when we hung up. And only when we hung up was I able to hold my little guy and give him my full attention. And my mother-heart nearly came apart for the grief and pain of having a son go off to war.
And to this day, when I see a mom on a phone, seemingly ignoring her present child, I think back to that time and I stop and I pray.