I am hoping to get back in to more regular posting now that we are into the new year. Here is a post I began some time ago and have finally finished.
The other day I ended up needing to take the boys grocery shopping with me, which is, more often than not, quite a challenge. I feel like I’ve done a full day’s work just getting them loaded into the car, so I usually feel like I need a week’s paid vacation after running an errand with all three of them.
The shopping trip also came after a trip to the chiropractor. I know that with each errand we run, with each transition in and out of the car, with each reminder to “hold hands”/”keep your hands to yourself”/”use your inside voice”/etc, that Thomas and Everett are using more and more of their social energy reserves and I have to watch carefully for signs of meltdown-while calculating the price per fluid once of apple juice.
The day’s errands had been running relatively smoothly when we hit a snag- Trader Joe’s was out of the drinkable yogurt that Everett counts on getting every week. He was very frustrated and sad, and was beginning to let his big feelings show and was losing his ability to cooperate.
I think probably every mom has been in this situation, and most of us can probably say that the energy of those around us is usually less than supportive. It can almost feel as if people are muttering “spoiled brat” under their breath or rolling their eyes or just flat out wishing that children in general didn’t exist.
On this particular day, we had a different and much more positive experience. A woman who appeared to be of a grandmotherly age, noticed that I was beginning to struggle to hold it all together. She approached is and commented on how she had been noticing how well-behaved the boys were (even of she was lying, the sentiment was truly appreciated in the moment) and she spent a minute empathizing with them about how tough it is to go grocery shopping and how disappointing it can be when things don’t turn out how we hoped they would.
It was enormously refreshing to experience this kind of support from a stranger who could see that all of us were giving the best effort we had at the time. I hope we will continue to encounter more people like this kind woman, and I hope for many chances to pay this experience forward!