The other day I was driving, running errands, and came to a stop at a light. On the street corner I saw a mother and her daughter. The daughter was no older than 5, certainly at least three. And they were struggling. I could see it on the mothers face, the face of a mother who just couldn’t convince her daughter that their journey was the right one. And I saw it on the daughters face, a face I’ve seen so many times from Avery, fear and confusion. In that moment I realized I wasn’t alone. That parenting was a struggle for all parents. That children sometimes don’t understand the how’s and why’s of life and it poses a challenge to the mommy or daddy living the moment. In that moment I smiled because I’ve been there so many times before. Walking into a store, running an errand, changing focuses and I’ve experienced the challenge of Avery not wanting to, not understanding why. I felt a sense of peace and a sense of comradery with the mother on the corner. We will all face these challenges, these moments, these passing chances to teach and develop our children in a healthy way so that they understand the how’s and why’s of life.
And then as quickly as I was this mothers comrade, I became her silent enemy. In one swift moment my heart broke for this little girl. This mother, this women in charge of squelching her daughters fears, instead hit her child on a street corner. At the risk of sounding like a judgmental parent and knowing that I am not a perfect parent, I wanted to jump out of my car and rescue this sweet small curious and scared child. In this moment I felt like this little girl was just belittled in the grandest of scenarios, in a public forum, her mother’s frustration and anger spilled over and broke this little soul just a little bit more. In this moment I realized I had a choice, I could either judge or I could learn. So just as quickly as my heart was broken, it was at peace, fore I understood what the weight of this situation meant to me.
I found a quick peace. I realized no mother is perfect and I put my passing judgement of her decision to hit her daughter in public to bed. However, I did decide that that face, that sweet, terrified, questioning face, the one looking for rescue and understanding, that face that I’ve seen on Avery so many times… I realized that that face meant something. And in that moment I decided that when I see that face in my future, from my daughter, I will develop her. Watching that face from the outside seeing that it was searching for answers and safety, it made me realize the opportunity I have in my own future. I have the opportunity to slow down, educate and make my daughter feel safe. I have the opportunity to crouch down, kneel, come to my daughters level and understand. I have the opportunity to quickly pick her up, squeeze her close and remind her life is ok and she is safe. I have the opportunity to grab a seat and have a conversation about why life is the way it is. I have the opportunity to make her feel important and allow her to feel her emotions. And I have the opportunity to develop her in a healthy way. Slow down, breathe, love and create peace.