Dear lady at JC Penney… Yes you, shaking your head at my screaming child as I asked his dad to take him to the car… You, rolling your eyes, with thoughts so loud I could almost hear you… You, sitting on your pedestal looking down at us, at our parenting and at the child we raise as well as we can… I know what it is like to be you. You see, I once was just like you! Sure, maybe not as obvious, but I thought it. Like you, it never crossed my mind that perhaps that child was screaming due to the overwhelming noises and lights that don’t bother us… or that maybe his routine was disturbed… or that maybe he just needed to be alone. It never crossed my mind because I , like you, had never dealt with it… or heard about it. If I knew then what I know now I would have probably hugged those parents. Paid their bill. At the very least given them an understanding smile. Things aren’t always what they seem.
But I cannot be mad at you, I cannot base my feelings on your lack of information, I can only move on from here, tall and strong… After all this is not my first rodeo and I am sure it will not be the last. The journey we are on is a life long one, one I would not change.
However it does sadden me that you, like many others, were so quick to judge. That you did not get to see him at his best. That you did not get to meet him and see just how his brain works. How bright he truly is. That you did not get to see his sweet smile or hear his soft voice and he tells you all about the solar system or roman numbers. That you did not get to feel his arms around you. For that I can’t help but feel sorry for you, as those are the moments I live for.
To anyone reading this, don’t follow her lead… be kind… be understanding… Everyone is fighting their own battle, you have no way of knowing someone’s journey and struggles by watching them for a few minutes. Next time you see a frazzled mother trying to console her child who is having a meltdown, offer her a smile… Next time you watch a father drag a kicking and screaming child out of a store or a restaurant, remember that child may be struggling with something you cannot see, hear, feel or understand, and be kind… After all, isn’t that the kind of love and compassion you want to teach your own children?
Until next time