I had the
hellish bad luck privilege of being that mom in the grocery store tonight
with a child fitfully rolling about in the middle of the produce section. Boneless and inconsolable she was. The reason
for her tantrum? It appeared that all the grocery carts with the gigantic
plastic car attached to the front (you know… the ones that won’t turn a corner
to save your life… the cart that forces you to literally plan your next move 5
aisles ahead of time) were all taken. So
we, unfortunately, had to use a regular cart. Apparently this was not
acceptable to her.
I went about picking out a good batch of strawberries, keeping my head strategically bowed so as to avoid eye contact with any onlookers, while she wriggled and cried – I know my girl, let her get it out and we’ll move on.
But then, something very touching happened (touching to a tired mama that is just trying to grab the necessities for dinner and be on her merry way anyway). A young man walking into the store stopped by my fitful child and said, “Uh oh, someone’s not very happy.” I replied with a smile and a “Not at the moment…” expecting him to just mosey on shaking his head.
But he didn't. He knelt down by her and in the kindest, most understanding voice he asked her, “What’s the matter? Hmm? What’s wrong?” He wasn’t belittling, he wasn’t mocking-- it was like he genuinely wanted to know what had her so upset. And so, I’d like to write this—
Dear Kind Sir,
Thank you for your kindness today. You didn't look at us and give us the old ‘wide-eyed-raised-eyebrows-sucks-to-be-you’ glance. You didn't walk by as if nothing was happening. You acknowledged us, you acknowledged my daughter—and kindly. You knelt down to her level to make sure she was ok. And though she immediately hid behind my leg and was too shy to answer you, she stopped crying. I don’t know if this was your grand plan, but it was brilliant none the less. I don’t think this was your plan though. I truly think you were just being empathetic to her feelings, and to mine.
“I have a little one too,” you said to me, “she’s almost 2. I know these fits.”
You related to me. You related to her. And in the simplest way.
You never did find out why she was so upset. You went on your way after she stopped crying. You smiled, I thanked you. But I don’t feel like I thanked you properly – just a quick “Thanks!” with a smile of my own trying to pull it off like I've got it together and I know what I’m doing.
How easy it is to judge something we see without stopping to relate – we can all relate on some level, but it’s easier to walk on than to stop.
Thank you for stopping, for not jumping to judgement. Thank you for being KIND.
A humbled and appreciative mama