13 November 2012

Feel Good Moment

The other day, I had the whole family out shopping for a new outfit for my Sweetheart. Yes, I know that was a stupid idea seeing as how the kids were both tired and cranky and the boy was spewing snot everywhere, but that's not the point - and in any case, I'd only slept a few hours in several days, so I wasn't in my right mind, and as such I'm assured complete immunity by the Daddies Bill of Rights for any snot or vomit covered clothing or shopping carts, and for any headaches, blurred vision or seizures caused by the screaming of my overtired children. (And don't get all self-righteous on me - you know danged well your kids have done the same thing.)

Ah, but I digress. So as I was saying, I had the whole noisy messy bunch at Kohl's, watching serenely as the Little Man screamed and cried and pulled his limp noodle act and rubbed snot all over me and his Mommy. Generally, he was just trying to be annoying enough that he would be allowed to get down and run around naked (yes, we've reached that wonderful age of streaking), but God was sweetly buffering me somehow that afternoon, and I was strangely un-annoyed. Or perhaps I had a really bad seizure and went temporarily deaf. Whatever the case, I was enjoying roaming around my beautiful wife, enjoying the view and taking turns wrangling the boy and keeping an eye on the Princess, who was bound and determined to get at least thirty or forty new outfits of her own.

Well, we finally tracked down numerous outfits for Sweetheart to try on and proceeded to the dressing room. Then things got even more interesting. To cut my long story short, let's just say that the boy went crazier than usual and was tossed back and forth between me and the dressing room. He stripped, he tried to tear off his diaper, he screamed, he threw up, he produced a larger volume of snot (by weight) than his own body mass, which is one of those mysteries of physics which I am struggling diligently to solve. I figure I'll be getting the Nobel Prize for it eventually, once I solve the puzzle.

Now, normally, this would have had me as cranky as the kids. I'm not sure what the difference was this time, although I suspect that it has something to do with Sweetheart and I coming to the realization that if we don't try very, very hard to maintain a great (not just good) attitude, then all the health issues we've been having to deal with will drag us down, and that's not what we want for the kids. In any case, I wrestled the Little Man into the child seat of the cart by tilting the whole thing back against me and tying him down with the straps. Sound horrific, I know (I sure know he thought so), but I figured, hey, that's what those things are there for, so might as well use 'em. As I tied him in, I put my mouth to his ear so he could hear me over his screaming, and softly told him that all he had to do was sit in the seat until Mommy was done. I gently promised him that as soon as she got out, he could get out and walk with her. I had to repeat myself several times before he began to calm down enough to understand me, but he actually settled down and sat fairly quietly until Sweetheart was done. I don't know who was more surprised by the whole episode, him or me.  What I do know, was that there were lots of women passing back and forth, most of them looking at me like I was some kind of child beater for making him sit.

What I didn't know was that one woman was watching the whole thing. She could have sprung her surprise on me alone and I would have been shocked enough. But nope. She waited until my Sweetheart rejoined us and then she slipped up behind me. When she told me, and then repeated it to make sure my wife heard, that she was impressed and thought I was doing such a great job with my children, you could have knocked me over with a feather. She went on to assure me that my kids were no bother at all and that they were very well behaved and obviously were being reared well.

I was tickled pink! For her to have told not just me, but my wife, something so pleasant and wonderfully kind, was such a blessing. As a disabled father, I often worry that I'm not measuring up and that my children are suffering because of my disability. To have a stranger acknowledge my efforts and offer completely unsolicited praise was an incredible pick me up. It was a great feel good moment.