Every Easter we attend a holiday with several families from our church. While I look forward to the singing, fellowship, teaching, seaside and cake I am also worried about being a parent in public for 4 days.
Added to this although 3,000 other people seem to be able to get to the right place at the right time – we just can’t mange it despite our best efforts.
This year we took Star for the first time. Star and I were walking back from crèche when we approached a Dad whoose toddler was lying in the middle of the path. The little boy was having one of those noisey public meltdowns that all parents dread. Lying in the middle of the path, loudly refusing to walk any further. His Dad was trying patiently to ask the toddler to get up.
I thought “that could so easily be us.”
A few paces ahead of me a man called out to the Dad.
“We feel your pain.”
The Dad looked up and smiled.
As I passed by I said “we’ve all been there.”
The person behind me said
“Stay strong, Dad.”
Well, the effect of this was that the Dad seemed to grow a few centimetres, the passers by were smiling and the toddler stopped shouting and instead was watching all this positive attention being directed towards his Dad.
It got me thinking how different life would be if we always encouraged each other when we Witness a child’s public meltdown.
A couple of days later, Ben and I were in a queue waiting to choose our meal. Ben, tired and over excited, was protesting about the injustice of being asked to eat greens and all of his discontent came pouring out:
“I don’t want to eat my peas, or go to bed , AND, AND… , you are MEAN. You are a MEAN Mummy.”
“Yes,” I replied, probably more playfully than I felt, “ I am a mean mummy who makes you eat peas and go to bed and at a sensible time,”
The man in front of us, turned to Ben, and said sympathetically
“I had a mean Mummy who made me eat peas and go to bed at a good time.”
Ben looked astounded to have found such solidarity from an adult.
Then the man smiled and said
“That is the best sort of Mummy.”