Updated: May 8, 2019
Sometimes teachers in our lives come in the most unexpected packages. Your greatest teacher of patience, perseverance, and letting go can be a macaroni-and-cheese-loving, t-shirt- snot-wiping, "I-promise-I-brushed-my- teeth" lying, "I'll-make-my-bed-later" three-foot tall human.
It happens to all of us. That moment when you realize that the little person melting down in front of you in a toy store has for the millionth time created space for you to stop, breathe, take a moment to listen, and tune in. Really tune in. Not to the crying, or the looks of the customers you are convinced are judging you in the moment, but to the opportunity to find calm within the storm. Sometimes, it can feel like mission impossible because everything within us wants to make the tantrum stop AT ANY COST.
This precious moment you were enjoying just a moment ago has become a test of endurance. The little human is looking at you with tears in their eyes. Their face is red. They feel so betrayed at the word "No". Even though you might have explained before you entered the toy store that you wouldn't be getting anything that day. Even if you just bought them something at another store. That word "No" feels so personal. It's easy to get irritated and to want to grab them immediately. You may even want to leave the store as you apologize to the other customers. You may consider the tantrum a spoiled child's attempt at emotional manipulation and control. And yet, this little guru is asking you to be patient with their big emotions; to stop and acknowledge how hard it is for them to manage their disappointment and anger. They want to know you love them and won't abandon them in the middle of what feels like the end of the world for them.
So what do you do?
You stop. Take a deep breath. Get down to your child's level and you allow yourself to remember what it was like to be small.
You remind yourself that you love this little human who isn't purposely embarrassing you.
You remember that children are just as much teachers as their parents are and you silently thank them for reminding you to tune in, to speak with love, and to calmly connect.
You remind yourself that sometimes children cry because they want to feel more connected to you overall.
Then you help your child breathe as you hold them in a space away from the other customers.
You remind yourself that whispering customers or dirty looks are nothing compared to this precious life and guru who needs you now.
And then you take another deep breath, get home and thank your little guru for reminding you of what you already know. You've got this.