On a recent trip to the playground, I sat on a park bench with a cup of coffee, feeling the freedom that comes from forgetting your cell phone at home. From the bench, I could see my vertically challenged 7-year-old trying to reach the high monkey bars. First try, fail. Second try, fail. Third try, fail and BOOM.
I watched helplessly as my little boy fell to the ground, back first. Thoughts raced through my head as I jumped up to check on him: Why didn’t I help him on the monkey bars? What if he broke his back or his neck? What if he never walks again? It’s all my fault. I’m a terrible mom.
My thoughts were abruptly interrupted by loud shrieking that could only be coming from my son, who makes up in volume what he lacks in height. As he ran towards me, all I could think is, “Thank goodness his back isn’t broken. I’m an okay mom.”
As I consoled my screaming son, I looked around at all the other parents and kids. Not a single one asked if he was okay or offered to help in any way. Feeling disgruntled, I wanted to leave, but his flip-flops had fallen off by the monkey bars. I would have to go get them. Then, I noticed a woman and her toddler heading towards flip-flop No. 1. She picked it up and headed for flip-flop No. 2. She brought them to me and then pulled something out of her bag. A lollipop.
“Would this help?” she asked. “I keep them in my bag for boo-boos.”
I watched her toddler’s face as she noticed the lollipop sitting next to my son. “Lolpop?” she asked her mom. “Yes. That’s a lollipop. But we’re giving it to this little boy because he got a boo-boo.” I expected a meltdown, but instead, the little girl smiled and headed for the slide. That is parenting done right — teaching your child kindness at a very young age.
My son eventually stopped crying and shoved the lollipop in his mouth. It worked better than a Band-Aid. And this woman’s kindness was a Band-Aid on my heart.