Friday, April 13, 2012

An Open Letter

To all of the people who frowned at me, shook their heads, and whispered as I passed them in the mall last night:

My son is 2. He doesn't talk much yet. He doesn't have words for his frustration or his anger. He can't figure out how to get what he is feeling from his brain to his lips, so he cries. And he screams. And he hits himself with his little fists.

No, there is nothing wrong with him.

He is simply, angry. And he can't say so. And that makes him angrier. Which spirals into an epic fit.

And yes, I knew this would happen when I took him to ride the train. I knew he would scream and cry for an hour after coming off of it. I knew.

And I did it anyway.

So sue me. So You had to hear him scream. So you had to make judgements in your head, or whisper to whomever you were shopping with. So you had to give me fake sympathetic smiles.

I'm not sorry.

Because seeing that little boys face as we rode that tiny train through the mall, as he got to call out "Baaaaaaaa!!!" (bye) and "Whooooo Whoooo" as we passed people and stores and the food court was worth it.

The 5 minute ride was worth the struggle of the hour after. The hour of screaming and kicking and crying.

Why? Because he is 2. And so few things are simply joyful at 2. Bubbles, cars, swinging, and the train ride at the mall top the list.

All the rest of the day he is at my whim. He goes where I go. He doesn't choose to go to the grocery store, the gym, the post office. He doesn't choose to eat grilled cheese for lunch or to have a nap. He doesn't choose what to wear or when to leave the house.

I choose it all for him. And he has no control.

And he is 2. And behind in his verbal skills due to repeated ear infections. And he is easily frustrated. AND HE WANTED TO KEEP RIDING THE DANG TRAIN.

And I GET him. I understand his little heart and his feelings. That's why I wasn't scolding him. That's why I gave him a cookie. That's why I stopped to hug him and kiss him while he cried. That's why I got down on my knees in the middle of the mall and talked to him, again and again.

Imagine you are 2. You can't talk. You can't communicate. And something you treasure is given to you and then abruptly removed. What would you do?

So next time you want to cut your eyes at a mother with a screaming child, just remember: She is probably doing her best. She is probably trying. And your comments, your frowns, and your looks cut right to the heart of her as a mama. They make her doubt herself. They make her feel ashamed and angry.

See that little face? It is precious to me. It is precious to God. And despite his faults- temper and fierce independence, he is a joy to me. He is my baby. Not just a screaming child to be annoyed with. Somebody's baby. Beloved.

Kindness is never ever futile. Next time, try to be kind instead of judgemental.