Ari, Samara and I went to Blue Sky Bakery this morning for muffins. When we were getting ready to leave, I noticed that Samara had thrown a bunch of books on the floor. Blue Sky has a variety of children's books for kids to read. I asked Samara and Ari to pick up all the books from the floor and put them back on the bookshelf. Samara responded by screaming "No!" at me. I said:
"Okay, then we're not going to ride the scooter home."
She finally conceded and put the books away with Ari's help.
Then I asked the kids to put their used plates and cups in the garbage can. They resisted at first but they begrudgingly did it.
Finally, when we were getting ready to leave, I asked that Ari assist Samara with her balance bike. She needed a hand getting out of the door. It was too heavy for her to carry and I knew that he could help her. He responded by ignoring me and riding his scooter down the block. I kindly reminded him that we wouldn't be riding the bike or scooter home unless he helped his sister.
"Okay." He said. With that he held the door and guided Samara get her bike outside.
I realized that the process of leaving took longer than it would have taken had I just picked up the garbage and the children's vehicles myself, but I wanted the kids to have responsibility for their belongings and their actions.
As we stepped out the door, an elderly man (who was also eating at Blue Sky) turned to me and said:
"I want to congratulate you for handling the children this way." I was floored.
"Really?" I asked him. "Thank you!"
With that he walked down the street and didn't say another word.
That one sentence had a profound impact on me. Too often, I'm stopped by strangers who want to give me unsolicited parenting advice. Some people like to criticize my parenting or tell me what I'm doing "wrong."
This man took the time out of his day to tell me what I was doing "right." It made my heart swell with pride. It made me feel like a great mom. I wish he had stopped for a second longer. I would have given him a hug.
Thank you mystery man for bringing light to my day and making me feel like I did something right.