|We all have bad days. |
We can just hope tomorrow will be better.
Every so often, I'd have to call for the kids to come back over. They weren't going beyond boundaries or out of sight, but rather they were getting dangerously close to an older child.
The child, maybe ten years old, was screaming and throwing things. He progressed to knocking over heavy metal chairs. The mother, stood silently, every so often removing thrown chairs that her son might hurt himself on. To some, it may have just looked like an unruly child, with a parent who refused to discipline. I knew better, I knew this was a calculated response- an intentional response. Even if the child hadn't been throwing chairs and other random things, I would have still insisted that our children maintain their distance for the mother's sake. They were not going to make the situation any better and probably would have made the older child lash out more as a response to their intrusion.
After about ten or fifteen minutes, the ten year old calmed down enough for his mother to start talking to him, and encouraging him to go into the library located inside of the museum. She told him she was going to videotape his trip to the library and pulled out her phone. She sang a lovely little tune about the library. She clapped and cheered him on. I wanted to clap for him too, for getting himself calmed down and moving on with the day, but I didn't. I just looked at his mother and flashed her a genuine smile. A smile that I hope reassured her that at least some of us understand, that even if we aren't exactly in her shoes we know kids have bad days. We know that sometimes the best thing you can do is let them calm themselves and then move on. We know that some days are more challenging than others and that she handled the situation with grace and dignity.
Mom at the museum, you are awesome. You are inspiring. You are amazing. I know you probably get a lot of stares when you go out and your child has a meltdown, even though you've done everything you could to prevent it. Sometimes you probably feel like people don't think you're doing anything right, and you might feel that way about yourself after a particularly trying day. If I could tell you one thing, it would be that you are doing a damn fine job- don't let anyone's glaring eyes or snarky comments ever make you feel otherwise.