Can you help or will you walk away? This is the question I asked myself today in the Walgreens parking lot. I heard a man's voice bellow "What are you doing to that child? I'm calling the police! I don't like how you're handling her!" He was an older man in his 60s, driving past a woman in her 50s who was trying to get a child into a carseat who was throwing a temper tantrum. I hadn't seen what was going on until I heard his voice. He was clearly trying to get the woman to stop struggling with the child, concerned about abuse. She looked desperate, not angry. She said to him that she was trying to get her granddaughter into her car seat. Now I could hear the little girl screaming angrily and the man was giving the woman the stare down. I don't know what he saw, but I bet it was something similar to what I've been through with my kids throwing temper tantrums when they were younger - a power struggle. I waited a moment to see what would happen. She stuck her head back in the car and was pleading with the child. The man was glaring at her with his phone to his ear. Holy smokes, this situation needed some compassion and help, not threatening and screaming. I walked over and smiled and said "How can I help?" The woman fearfully explained that the other man was calling the police and she's scared and just trying to get her granddaughter to calm down."Did you hit her?" I asked. No, she said, but I threw her shoe in the front seat because she was hitting me with it. I responded calmly and reassuringly, "I've been through this before with my kids when they were little. I'll stay with you, we'll figure this out." At first when I tried talking to the little girl she screamed at me. "Don't talk to me, don't look at me, get away from here." I nicely encouraged Grandma to take a deep breath and take a little break. Within just a minute or so I was able to earn the little girl's trust, get her to happily jump into her car seat all on her own, buckle her own straps and let ME help her get her shoes back on. We talked about how much she loves her grandma and her grandma loves her. She wiped away her tears and gave me a high five. And grandma? At this point she had tears spilling out of her eyes and I gave her a hug. The man in the car was gone. I hope he saw the situation had deescalated and everything was going to be okay. There was a very good chance that grandma could have screamed at me to get away and mind my own business. In which case I still would have watched and waited to make sure that little girl was okay. But I had it on my heart that I could at least try to help and I'm so glad I did because I know it made a difference. I'm not sharing this to brag or get praise - but to hopefully help inspire someone else to reach out with a smile in a similar situation. Because most parents or grandparents in that situation feel humiliated, powerless and afraid someone will call the cops. Many of us have been there. We can be on the other side, too.
Life is big and messy and wonderful and sometimes awful and the most amazing thing is finding the person who is willing to go through the messy and the awful with you. And I mean… really there with you. And going through the awful makes you both stronger together and can make the wonderful moments even better. Love sharing my big news with you all! Link
Now that my kids are in team sports, parent sportsmanship has become "a thing" I'm suddenly paying close attention to. Last night at soccer a parent didn't like something my kid did and YELLED loudly to the coach about it, demanding he address it. He kept yelling. The coach thought it was no big deal and tried to manage it appropriately. My child however? Humiliated in front of everyone and felt like the yelling was directed at them personally. Tears. After apologizing to the other kid and taking a water break so my child could recompose, the game was back on. But this mama bear? HELLA pissed. After things calmed down and the game was back on, I went up to the other parent, super calmly apologized on behalf of my kid and pointed out that my kid apologized. HOWEVER, please consider, in the future, walking up quietly to the coach and asking the coach to address. Or wait until after the game to address with the coach. Yelling loudly across the field interrupted the game, disrespected the coach and completely humiliated my child. He was defensive and told me not to lecture him. I told him that parent sportsmanship is a real thing and we are all expected to be respectful. You mess with my kid, be prepared to deal with me. No way was I going to leave that alone!
Only a few days away from the big day over here! The kids are super excited about dressing up and we've let them choose songs to add to the "must play list" for the DJ. We also found a super sweet and meaningful way to include them in the ceremony - which I'll share in a post after the big day. I'm super excited too and actually starting to get a bit nervous. :) <3 Wish me luck y'all and I will share some pics after the wedding!