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To the Man Who Said Something About My Kids’ Behavior in a Restaurant

Dear Sir,

It’s been a hard 24 hours for my little tribe.

We got very little sleep last night and are helping dear friends of ours move away today.

When you came up to me this morning, I inhaled deep and got that fear pang in my gut like I do every time I’m sure a stranger approaching me is going to complain to me or offer unsolicited parenting advice to me because of my “unruly” children.

But you didn’t do that.

You smiled, leaned in and quietly whispered, “Thank you for teaching your children to behave in public.”

I was shocked. I said thank you, smiled and then, “Ummm, was that sarcasm?” Came out of my mouth before I could stop it. You were kind, though, and said, “No dear, I really mean it as a compliment.” I said thank you again, wished you a good weekend, collected my brood and headed to the pay counter.

I can’t tell you enough how your simple act of kindness brought joy to my soul and tears to my eyes. Because it’s too often that I’m on the receiving end of judgmental comments or glares. You had no way of knowing this, no way of knowing my story or how much your words would really impact me.

chelsea mersereau kids the mighty

You don’t know that my oldest son has invisible special needs that impact him every day. You had no way of knowing that on a daily basis I’m sworn at, spit on, kicked at, yelled at, and have stuff thrown at me by a child I love with all my heart, who can’t control his emotions, especially in sensory-rich environments.

You had no way of knowing all the trauma my kids and I have been through these last 4 years. Separations from their dad, a house fire, being homeless TWICE, having my son hospitalized twice last spring to be better able to help him, and countless other stressors not seen by most “typical” families.

And you know what? It doesn’t matter! In fact it’s even better that you don’t know. Because then, I truly know you’re being genuine and not trying to make me feel better because you know my situation.

Thank you so much. Thank you for being kind and taking the time to bless someone. You saw past my greasy hair, rain wet hoodie, the fact it said “BITE ME ” on it in bold black letters, and you simply saw a mom. A mom doing her best to love her kids and teach them about life, in the midst of a busy, bustling Shari’s on a stormy wet Sunday.

I hope your day is amazing and that you and your wife enjoyed the rest of your meal.


A very grateful Mama C

A longer version of this post originally appeared on Me, You, Wine, Cheesecake, and Autism.

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