You know how a complete stranger can make or break your day sometimes?
All it takes is a harsh word to ruin a moment or a kind one to make it better.
On Sunday while we were at the zoo Preston had a few meltdowns and tested the boundaries more than once. By the time we were leaving the Northern Trail exhibit, I was at my breaking point. He was refusing to listen and I was tired of people walking around his temper tantrums and tired of trying to calm him down when all I wanted to do was run in the opposite direction to save my sanity, or what I had left of it.
Itwas at this moment that Preston decided to lift his legs up and refuse to stand back up. Which shouldn't be difficult because we are bigger than Preston so we can just pick him up and carry him. That is not as easy as it sounds. Especially when Preston turns himself into a deadweight that squirms.
As we are fighting this in the middle of the trail, people are just walking around us. They are trying not to stare but in all reality I can see the little looks they are casting our way as they walk by with their children holding their hands as angelic as can be. I'm thinking in my head that at least this latest rebellion is just physical, he could be screaming too. That would be worse. All in all I'm feeling particularly sorry for myself.
Then an angel walks by. No seriously. She made my day! As she walks by with an tiny baby in a stroller, a larger baby in a front pack, and is followed by her toddler and husband. She turns and smiles at me. Doesn't pretend that she can't see the obvious battle of Preston vs. me and Brad. And she gives a little laugh and says, "Ahh, jello legs I remember those days." Then smiles pointedly at the incredibly well behaved toddler holding her husband's hand behind her.
That was all it took to make the situation seem that much better. Seven words. Five seconds of her day. And she didn't even have to slow down as she walked by.
I suddenly felt hope. And less embarassment. Preston is not the first toddler ever to meltdown with an audience. And he won't be the last. But she also showed me that even the most well behaved appearing children have meltdowns. But, here's the best part, they grow out of it. And move on. And become the perfectly behaved little boy that I saw walking through the zoo holding his Daddy's hand.
I'm not sure if she realized that I was about to drop into a black hole that could be better labeled as a mental breakdown. Or if she just remembered what it felt like to be in my shoes. In all honestly I don't care why she took those five seconds and dedicated them to making my day a little less bleak. Because it worked. I was able to put a smile on my face and calmly convince Preston to stand back up so that we could move on to the next exhibit. And for that I am incredibly grateful to her.