I want to thank the sweet lady at the store who gave me encouragement and she doesn’t even know it. My husband, Chris, was sick recently and of course if you or your spouse is sick with a toddler running around, you don’t get much rest. Arwen and I went to the store and I could just tell she was having an off day. She is generally a sweet, but very sassy toddler. She has moments of outburst where she is just being ornery, but this day she kept crying, then wanting to snuggle, and there was a different feel to her sadness/anger. I felt an unbelievable amount of compassion for this tiny human who doesn’t understand what all these emotions are that she is feeling. She would scream and I would try my best to reason with her, but I knew she was sad and wasn’t trying to be out of control or disrespectful (as sometimes she can be, what toddler isn’t?). She needed me to be patient, my husband needed stuff for his cold, and I needed to try to ignore the horrible looks I was getting from many people who seemed to look at me as if I was asking her to disrupt everyone’s wonderful time shopping. I was starting to get tense trying to hold back tears and resisting the urge to make her understand she needs to pull herself together. As her mom, I knew this was out of character and I needed to love her through this. As I was trying to shop, I kept coming across this one lady who had a preteen with her, and each time I saw her she just smiled at me. It wasn’t a smile of “I’m glad I’m not you” or a rude smirk, but it was a smile of compassion and love. She was a great encouragement because every time I saw her it reminded me to do what I needed to do for Arwen while I tried to get what I needed to get – take the time to love her, snuggle her and ignore the looks, which in all honestly, I was probably reading more into them than what they actually meant.
So thank you, sweet lady at Target for, without knowing it, you gave me the encouragement I needed in that moment of going up and down several aisles, to not fight my daughter’s “behavior”, but to love her through her hard moment.
My encouragement for all of you is if you see a parent who has a screaming toddler, a simple smile can go a long way.