So my Sabbath turned into 3 days… and I’m making no promises to catch up. :S
But here we go!
I’ll admit it. At first I was a little wary when you addressed my daughter. I was ready to jump in with my big Mama-bear suit on and tell you to step off. (as politely as possible of course) But it didn’t take me too long to realize that you were offering me an ally.
As you asked my daughter, “Why are you YELLING?” in an exaggerated aghast tone, the words, “it takes a village” raced through my mind. I paused to watch how my daughter would respond to you. She ceased her assertion that she “needed” the bundle of lollipops that she had found by the til and came to my leg very calmly, while looking at you. Relieved that her encounter with you was ‘over’, and I wouldn’t have to intervene, I thanked her for coming to me. Which was all the invitation she needed to take up her chant about lollipops again, this time with hitting.
Internally, I rolled my eyes and thought, “hooboy… now’s where the grocery store expects me to ‘put my kid in line’ and maybe smack her back, and where everyone is going to judge me for my gentle response.
Nevertheless, I knelt down and caught her hands and reminded her that God gave us our hands to bless and not to hurt, and that I was sorry, but lollipops were not an option.
Then I proceeded to pay for the treat we HAD stopped at the grocery store to buy, and as I did, and my daughter’s complaining continued, you engaged again. As I heard your voice, I thought surely you were judging my inefficient parenting and were about to ‘right my wrong’, but in fact, you were tag-teaming with what I’d done, asking my daughter if she was going to put away her childsized buggy we’d been using.
As I finished up the transaction, I remarked with a sigh, (more to myself than anyone) and this is why I hate grocery stores!”
the cashier responded with empathy, and then you said this beautiful piece of encouragement, about what a good job you felt I was doing, and how hard it is to say ‘no’ to our little ones, and how strong I must be.
So thank you…
Thank you for not judging… or anyways, not condemning my parenting style
You can’t possibly know how badly I needed that encouragement. On a day where I felt like a failure not only as a parent, but as a human being, to have ANY kind of encouragement, but specific, glowing and lenghty encouragement, from a source where I was expecting the opposite was a monstrous blessing!
I know how hard it can be to step into someone else parent-child interaction in the first place… after all, Mama-bears often WILL feel like your first engagement was a statement about their failure as parents and make it clear, sometimes with disdain, sometimes more tactfully, that “they’ve got this”.
so it takes guts to engage in the first place.
Seems to me most people only find those guts when their righteous indignation that they can parent better than the actual parent takes over.
Yours came from the place of seeing a worn out Mama who needed backup.
And I never really thanked you. I never responded one way or the other to your comments to my daughter… so you probably really DIDN’T know how I was feeling about it all.
So to continue on with the courage to bless me with your encouragement…
May you also be blessed with encouragement from an unlikely source when you most need it, and may you know, somewhere in your spirit, that this is a tender touch from a God who loves you and wants you to know that He cares!