I saw you yesterday, looking at me and my three-year-old in the grocery store. With my little girl who is normally so sweet and friendly, but was in the process of having a full-on tantrum in the checkout line.
Thank God we were going through self-checkout.
She was mad at me. Mad I wouldn’t let her out of the cart. What you didn’t see is that I had previously let her out of the cart and she wasn’t listening. She was running, not holding on to the cart, and slipped and fell, dissolving into tears. At seven months pregnant, I’m just not able to chase her anymore and she got just a bit too far from me in that moment.
I comforted her, scooped her up, and put her back in the cart, much to her dismay. She begged, pleaded, cried to get out of the cart, and all I could say was no. All I could do was be firm and keep her in despite the screaming and the tears, and yes, a few stares.
Then we were finally done, finally checking out so we could head home, my daughter still with tears running down her cheeks. I told her that I was sorry, but the tears weren’t going to work on me, that she was staying in there. She cried some more.
Then I saw your smile. A small smile, a knowing one. You’d been through this before, perhaps with more than one child. You knew what it was like to see your kid cry and still have to deny what they wanted. And you know what? In that moment, I knew what your smile was saying. It was like you were living it with me.
In that moment, I felt like a great mom.
In that small moment, I knew I was doing the right thing, and I was reminded that so many parents before me have done the same. Something small that our kids will never remember, that we did because we had to, that we did to keep them safe.
So thank you for that smile. Thank you for reminding me that I’m a great mom.