Sometimes life is challenging. An act of kindness toward this struggling mom is all that was needed to turn things around.
We moved cross-country from Boston about 10 days ago. This past Marathon Monday, the kids and I were at Target. I was trying to distract us from feeling so far from home. After a move, leaving all of our family and friends, and living in a hotel for a week, I was parenting poorly. Really, really poorly.
I was being unkind to my kids- the very ones who needed me to show them MORE compassion and understanding. I simply could not pull out of it no matter how hard I tried, and I nearly cried myself to sleep each night because of how badly I felt.
It culminated with Owen breaking a glass jar of natural peanut butter at the checkout line (sharp glass, slippery oil, and sticky peanut butter everywhere). It put me over the edge.
I stood frozen, not helping to clean it up, and giving Owen the cold shoulder- I even said unkind and uncharacteristic things to him. I was lousy.
The woman who cleaned it up was so nice to him, and once we were all checked out she came back. She had stickers and snacks for the kids. She knelt down, gave them stickers and treats said “you are two great kids! You handled that so well!”
The sentiment brought me to tears- it’s what I should have been saying to them. Maybe I could have been embarrassed or defensive, but I was grateful to God; for the kindness, for the reminder, for being snapped back to reality of how my children should be treated.
The kind woman was standing by the door on our way out. Through tears I said “it’s been a rough week and a rough day. I can’t tell you how much your kindness means to me. Thank you.”
This one simple gesture changed everything for my children and I. It got me back on track, it reconnected us. It made us happier and more loving again. Our trend continues, and I have thought of this woman every day since… and I know I will for many days to come.