Thursday, March 8, 2012


We've all seen her.  She is standing alone, struggling against an angry torrent.  Tears, screams, feet stomping, tiny fists flailing.  She tries in vain to soothe, to calm, to stop but she cannot.  Once the tantrum train has left the station, it is impossible to stop.

Tantrums are frustrating to deal with in the comfort of your own home.  Tantrums in public are heartbreaking.  You dread the stares  in the grocery store.  You fear the unspoken judgements of those around you.  All you want to do is to  run away, to scoop your child up and flee to the safety of your car.  No one can see you then.

But you aren't in the saftey of your car or your home, you are in the aisle of a store.  Your cart is full with needed items, milk, laundry detergent, diapers.  If you leave without buying these items, you know you'll just have to go back.  Do you stay and check out?  Do you leave and hope to return with out the kids?  There is no right answer, no easy thing to do.  You are alone facing a furious, heartbroken child.

We've all seen her. You want to do something to help, to let her know it's okay.

We've all been her. Wishing, hoping that someone, something could help, could make it okay.

I was her yesterday.  We were in a craft store across town.  I was buying things for Bunny's Daisy Scout troop.  It was too close to lunch, too close to nap time.  We'd been there about 10 minutes too long.  I knew these things.  I knew it could be a problem.  But I had to get the supplies, the meeting was the next day.  I didn't know if I could make it back.

So I pushed on and Lion pushed back.  It started in the checkout line.  We were so close to the exit, close to the car, close to freedom.  But it was too much and he lost it.  I tried to hold him, to soothe him.  I was rewarded with kicks and a tiny bit of hair pulled from my scalp.  Putting him down resulted in a bolt for the door or tossing some impulse item on the floor.

I was lost.  I was broken.  I did not know what to do. 

And that's when it happened, the kindness of strangers helping me, soothing me.  A mother with an infant let me skip her in line. She knew it would be her time soon.  She could be me, she would be me.  The cashier who followed me out of the store with my gloves and Lion's book.  I had forgotten them in my haste to exit the store.

Their kind gestures helped so much.  For just a brief minute, I did not feel alone.  I did not feel judged.  And for that I am forever grateful.


Ivey League Mama said...

Sorry about the meltdown, but glad there were understanding people there. Good reminder to be that helpful person when I see others where I have been so many times (and will certainly be again)!

anymommy said...

Oh, Renee I am so glad for these kind people. It's amazing how strangers can change a terrible moment into a positive one. I hope everyone napped and ate and started anew!

Chasity Cole said...

Ah, yes. We have all been her/you. The kindness of strangers can indeed be a beautiful thing whether our days are marked with tantrums or not.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I think that this is one of the best gifts that mothers (and fathers) bring to the world. When you have to take unreasonable behavior for granted on a daily basis, you are far more likely be sympathetic to others. We all get a crash course in assuming that there is always more to the story.

Thank goodness for the kind hearted people who don't judge. Their help is worth SO much more than uninformed opnions.

the mommy psychologist said...

I have been there soooo many times. Pre-kids, I was one of those moms who said, "my kid will never act like that." HA HA HA HA on me!

Sustenance Scout said...

Hugs from Denver, K.