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I know you’re stressed, I could see it on your face. You looked exhausted, maybe even a little sick, yet you were still out shopping with your kid at 9:00 at night. It’s cold, mom. We were supposed to have snow today but the weather report changed so instead it’s just so bitterly cold. Your child was bundled, but her shoes were off.
I was down the aisle from you when she started screaming. I don’t know how old she is, maybe four or five, but definitely old enough not to have tantrums in the store. Other people were staring, and you just ignored the screams. An older lady walked down the aisle past me and in passing said it was a shame that moms like you don’t know what to do with their kids.
Your cart wasn’t overflowing, but it was definitely filling up. Cereal, bread, lunchmeat, dinner stuff. I’m guessing this was your weekly shopping trip and even though I never saw your grocery list, from the aisle you were in it’s likely you still had a long way to go.
Though I didn’t mean to, I was following you through the store. We had a lot of the same things to buy. And your kid screamed and or cried the entire time. People stared. I saw one woman actually stop and say something to you and you apologized to her.
I wish you hadn’t.
To be honest, mom. You are amazing. I don’t know why you were out so late, but I’m guessing you wouldn’t have been if you’d had any choice in the matter. I saw when your daughter kicked off her shoes and instead of turning it into a battle, you popped them into your purse and kept going. That was smart.
I realize a lot of people probably wished you would have left, or taken your daughter somewhere to deal with the tantrum, or done something about the scream, but the truth is, mom, sometimes kids scream.
I don’t know your story. I don’t know if your child is sick, or tired, or in a bad mood…maybe your child is autistic, or maybe she was just angry because you didn’t buy the cereal she wanted, but none of that is my business.
This letter is me telling you that I admire you for keeping your cool. Even though you didn’t take your child away to ‘deal’ with the tantrum, you did talk to her. You kept a calm, loving voice. You told her you’d be done soon and soothed her through the entire shopping trip. Even when people stared, you kept your cool. Even when people said things, you kept going.
A lot of people would have walked away…and maybe if you didn’t need those groceries you might have, too, but you kept going.
So what I’m saying, mom, is that even though I didn’t say anything at the store, I want you to know I admire you and I hope that you know that I saw you. I want you to remember tonight and how you kept going…because next time I’m having a rough day I’m going to remember you.
And I’ll keep going.