Today I went for a quick food shop with my four kids. And by quick I mean slow. When we reached the checkout, we were dipping into nap time, and my two youngest were on the brink of meltdown zone. I guess I missed the conversation where the kids decided sitting on the edge of the carriage underneath the baby seat was cool. I figured it out quick though when my three year old started beating on my five and seven year olds! It was like slow-mo as I saw her face get all angry-ninja like and her claws and flailing arms spun out of control, trying to pry the kids from the spot so she could sit. My darling three year old is no quiet child, even in her sweetest moments. So, the noise.
It was intense.
In my parenting book reading, I’ve picked up what I feel is the most effective way of handling public melt downs: remain calm, remain firm in your decision, don’t budge, don’t look around at everyone staring at you, either plant yourself till its over or carry them and move on to the car. Once we’re in the car reaffirm that wasn’t ok and talk about consequences. But today I was holding the crying the baby while trying to break up a brawl while consoling my five year old who got hurt.
It was messy.
And that’s when it happened. A woman with “Laura, 9 years” written on her name tag, dropped what she was doing, grabbed my carriage with a smile and inspired my troops to rally and get out to the car. She was so jovial and relatable and supportive. With her MA accent, she told my kids funny stories and admired their red hair. She loaded my car up while telling me about her own kids and was all around super down to earth. No dirty looks. No snide comments. No pity. Here is a person who met me in my moment of need. Her compassion and camaraderie made my day.
I walked away feeling so thankful.
It’s hours later and I’m still thinking about what an impact those few moments had on my heart. Sometimes being in public is the loneliest place; and that is especially true when we feel the weight of little people flipping out and the seeming judgements and annoyance that comes from onlookers. For the friendly employee who told me by your actions that I wasn’t alone: Thank You. I hope, like you, I can have eyes to see and be quick to support the people around me who could use it!