The other day I made a tactical error. I choose to write while my four year-old daughter was at school, instead of running errands. Then went from picking her up straight to the grocery store.
I bet you know what’s coming.
She did pretty well during the shopping itself. But by the time we reached the checkout lane, her patience was running out. And as she got closer and closer to melting down, trying to grab items from the cart to throw them, I started to lose mine.
Things were about to get ugly.
Then, an amazing thing happened. The woman in line behind us stepped close and complimented my daughter on her outfit. My daughter smiled, thanked her, and the woman continued:
“What kind of animal is on your shirt?” she asked.
“They’re pretty. How many birds are there?”
My daughter looked down, “One, two, three…”
“What color are they?”
While they were talking, I furiously tossed my items on the moving belt. I practically threw my coupons at the check out woman and grabbed my wallet.
By the time I had paid and my groceries were packed up, the woman and my daughter were enjoying a lovely chat.
I looked her in the eye, put my hand over my heart and said, “Thank you! I appreciate what you did so much.”
“Honey,” she replied. “I’ve been there.” She nodded in the direction of the two teenagers with her.
“No one understands a mom better than another mom,” I answered.
She smiled and we parted ways. And I thought to myself as I stepped out in to the bright sunshine – wouldn’t it be nice if moms supported other moms like that more often?
I was definitely not having one of my better parenting moments. I was on the verge of losing it with my child, when she was simply tired after a long day at school. I was mad at myself for putting us in that situation in the first place, and my child was about to get the brunt of my frustration.
The woman saw what was coming. She could have stood back and watched it unfold. Instead, she decided to offer another mom a much-needed dose of understanding and a helping hand.
Which I will be sure to remember the next time I see a mom in the midst of a difficult moment. In the meantime, we’ll stick to our usual after-school routine – a light snack and some downtime.