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A Stranger's Kindness During a Meltdown

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I made a bold announcement: we are officially out of the “tantrums phase.” Making such a grand declaration is a rookie mistake and I should’ve known better. It will not only ensure the universe proves you wrong, but does so in the most grandiose way possible.

I was checking out at the store and my toddler wanted to “be in charge” of the credit card. I allowed him to do so, but he kept putting it in correctly. I was trying to be patient, but there was a long line of people behind us and he was refusing my help. I finally had to take the card from him and do it myself which fueled his hulk-like rage. I saw the meltdown coming, so I gave him a stern look that said, “take your nonsense elsewhere.” He gave me a look back that said “woman, I do what I want, hold my beer.”

What happened next can only be described as a DEFCON level 4 meltdown. It was one for the history books. He was wildly flailing and crying and everyone in the store was staring. I finally noticed a lady trying to tell me something, but his screeching was so loud that it was impossible to hear anything. I could see her lips moving but no clue what she was saying. This went on for about two minutes, which is an eternity when you are standing there with a kid screaming directly into your eardrums.

Finally, I understood: IS HE THREE? I gave her a sheepish look because I thought she was going to berate me for this scene he was making. Instead, she gave me a knowing smile, nodded her head, patted me on the shoulder and told me she also has a three-year-old. All the stress and embarrassment I was feeling immediately melted away. I carried him out surf-board style, but with my head held high.

I don’t know who this fellow mom was, but that small act of kindness will stick with me forever. Her recognizing and acknowledging my pain in a non-judgmental way made all the difference in the world. She made me realize that every parent struggles and we are all in this together. Now, I feel inspired to pay that goodwill forward to another parent.

And also, you will never again hear me make such an audacious declaration; because apparently, karma has a real sense of humor.


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