It was shaping up to be a good day. We had started our new homeschool routines, managed to make it to therapy all in one piece, and no one had attempted to kill anyone. At least not yet. When I tell you it was a good day, I mean it. I had just picked up Legoman from therapy and was given the thumbs up. Leaving the conversation feeling like maybe we were about to start seeing the upswing of things, I was pretty sure it was about to start raining gumballs. I mean, isn’t that what happens on the most perfect days?
And then I turned the corner and it happened. I still am not quite sure what set him off… something about a gameboy and a profile and a level his brother shouldn’t have played and… and… and… KABOOM!
I stood there with my empty bag (remember, I was about to go catch gumballs from the sky) and watched as he unleashed his mighty roar on his brother, then me, then at anyone in his path in the waiting room. I could feel the stares burning a hole through my bag. The same bag that held so much hope and promises just moments before.
So I put down my bag, and ran after my son. He needed me more than I needed it to rain gumballs.
Outside, it was anything but gumballs and rainbows. It was nasty and ugly and not anything I wanted to catch in a bag.
With the baby tugging on one leg and my 7 year old complaining about his game system, I proceeded to walk down the sidewalk. You see, my son had run away. He had never done this before. He had gotten mad, sure… but he had never, ever run away. The emotions flooded me. I had to just stop in my tracks, close my eyes and breathe.
Slowly we walked down the street, hoping not to startle my son, in case he was hiding somewhere, hoping to find him around the next corner, hoping this was just a joke. Finally we found him, at the end of the street, curled in a ball, lips cinched, eyebrows down and fists clenched.
HE WAS MAD!!!
At this point, my main goal was to get him the car, get him home, get him calmed down and keep everyone safe. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it but I knew it had to be done.
Somehow I had to get my very angry son back to the car (which was now blocks away). So that is what I attempted to do and let me just tell you, it was NOT pretty.
Then the most amazing thing happened… Out of the blue a gumball fell.
Seriously! Out of NOWHERE… I think I was too surprised to even catch it, though. You see, just as I was walking to the car, I heard a strange voice and felt a strange touch on my shoulder. This stranger muttered something that was so amazing I almost missed it.
It will be okay. You are a good mom.”
Did you hear that? She thought I was a good mom. This stranger on the sidewalk. This stranger that watched my son blow up before her eyes. This stranger that saw me ignore my 15 month old to go after my 9 year old. This stranger that saw me tell my 7 year old I didn’t care about his problems because “I” had bigger problems.
Yep… that same stranger. She didn’t judge. She didn’t stare. She didn’t even tell me all the things I should be doing. Instead, she just offered a simple “gumball“!
A simple ray of hope and promise.
A simple statement of understanding.
It WILL be okay. I AM a good mom.”
All of the sudden, I was no longer alone with a bag full of holes. Instead I felt hopeful. I’m not even sure I said thank you at the time. But, here I am today, saying thank you! Thank you to the stranger that chose to understand instead of judge! Thank you to the stranger that chose to connect rather than ignore! Thank you to the stranger that chose to support instead of stare. Thank you!
Thank you for my gumball. Thank you for the hope that not every day will be like this and thank you for the hope that some day it really will rain gumballs and life will be different.
Guess what? If you are reading this.. you are a good mom, too! Maybe today it didn’t rain gumballs, but take this small gumball, from me to you and know that there is hope. Not all days will be pretty, not all days will fill your bag, but know that it will be okay!
Has a stranger ever given you a gumball? Have you ever found yourself in this situation? I want to know all about it. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram or subscribe by email so you don’t miss our next adventures!
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Want Resources For Dealing with Sensory “Issues”?
To help you remember some of these strategies and understand sensory behavior and what to do in the moment, I’ve put together this amazing poster set on how to understand your child’s sensory struggles and discipline sensory meltdowns.
These posters give you tips on how to help your child regulate their sensory needs, and identify what your child’s behavior is really telling you!
There’s also a list of 7 common myths about sensory behavior. I dispel these misconceptions so you can gain a deeper understanding of what sensory really is.
Ok, you might be thinking…
This all sounds great but…
- What should I do when my child is having a meltdown?
- How do I create sensory strategies that are going to help my unique child?
- How exactly do I get them to use those strategies in the moment?
In my next blog post, I’ll share how to create sensory tools that are going to help your specific child. I’ll also tell you what to do in the moment when your child is in sensory overload and having a meltdown!
But right now, download your FREE Handle Any Sensory Challenge posters so you can get a deeper understanding of sensory and start implementing some sensory activities and routines with your family!