Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do.
But to hold it together when everyone else would understand
if you fell apart, that’s true strength.
- Christopher Reeves
Picture a mom, standing in the middle of a parking lot, carrying a large, pink bag. Behind her, about 10 feet, is a screaming four-year old boy. What are you thinking? What do you want to say to her?
This was my scene last Friday. It was the last day of school for my girls and O and I were going to watch them both perform in the school’s talent show. He and I had talked about our day, what we would be doing and in what order. I had also prepared a bag (my large pink one) with enough snacks, drinks and activities to last us through the two hours we would be outside at the school. In my mind, we were ready.
And, things were great…until we started walking from the car into the school. We had walked a few steps and then O stopped. He started crying for me to pick him up. Although, I sometimes will still carry him, today I had my hands full and it was not physically possible for me to carry him and the bag. This – me not carrying him – was obviously not in his plan. He began screaming, yelling and would not move. He was yelling things about the sun, the wind, and saying, “Mom, I’m raising my hands!” Huh?
So, here I was, in the middle of the parking lot, trying to analyze the situation, in order to figure out the best response. One thing was obvious…I was NOT going to carry him! Other than that, I searched my brain for reasons, for the why of his behavior. Was it because I had carried him part of the way the day before, when walking into the school to pick up the girls? Was he bothered by the sun? Was there something in his shoe? Did he simply not want to walk?
I tried walking away, he screamed louder. I reminded him that we would have time to play on the play structure, he continued screaming. I tried offering him his hat, he screamed louder. I offered him a snack, he screamed even louder. Are you getting the picture?
And, of course, the louder he got, the more parents began arriving to watch their own children in the talent show. This was clearly not my best moment!
Ultimately, I decided even though I couldn’t pick him up, I also couldn’t stay in the parking lot. So, I put him in front of me and started walking. With my weight and momentum behind him, he had no choice but to walk. We walked like that all the way to the outdoor stage where the talent show would be. Once we got there, I offered O a spot in the shade, to sit on a towel and eat his snack. And, without argument, he sat and ate. As if the parking lot episode had never happened. Again, huh?
While the rest of the morning did not go without incident, it was pleasant. I got to watch and record both girls perform in the talent show and O and I got some fun time on the playground.
I’m still not sure what happened, why O picked this morning to refuse to walk. I have come up with many reasons, but have no clear answer. He has done this before and I’m fairly certain he will do it again. But, I’m not giving up. I will continue to hold it together, to respond calmly, and to love him in the way only his mother can.