Thank you random stranger

During an emergency run for diapers and wipes and cat food yesterday afternoon, C LOST it because I refused to buy him whatever junky toy had caught his fancy. He was tired as he hasn’t napped in a really long time now, and I was tired because I haven’t slept in a really long time now, which is a deadly combination. I refused to cave, as once I cave once I’ll be buying junky toys whenever we enter a store. Instead I tried to use my limited inner calm reserves to repeatedly say “Put the toy back, I am not buying it.”

After about ten minutes of this he finally headed back to rack where he had found it but as we wended our way to the registers (forget the paper towels that we also really needed) he continued to sob hysterically. My voice first became deadly calm, and then headed into the high-pitched “I am trying not to scream” registers as I began threatening the revocation of TV privileges if he didn’t get it together.

A woman with three teenage boys in tow stopped us as we turned a corner and immediately starting conversing with C while her children continued on with her shopping list. “Do you have a cat at home?” she asked while eyeing the cat food in the cart. C looked suspiciously at her but stopped crying and nodded. “What color is it?” “We have TWO cats,” C responded promptly. “Ohhh. How lucky. What are there names?” She continued to follow us for a bit, chatting with C as she dispatched her incredibly mild-mannered and well-behaved teens around the store to pick up her list, and even sent one to get me paper towels.

As she finally split off to find her own checkout line, I gave her a heartfelt thank you. She smiled a gentle smile and said “We’ve all been there.” Her teens fell into line and helped her sort and bag. I found it hard to believe that her children had ever been anything but helpful and quiet, but was grateful for her solidarity.

Thank you, thank you random stranger for saving my sanity yesterday afternoon. And in return, I promise to save the sanity of others just as soon as my children behave as well as yours in the store.

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