Recently Moose and I took a trip into town.
Nothing was particularly needed but for a change of scenery and some fresh air. Somedays Moose is more than happy to play in the lounge and some days. Well. He isn’t.
He did well, we walked around the shopping centre for a while. Admired an art installation. Went for cake. Walked like pigeons… the usual. Then my little man started to walk a little more slowly, he had an occasional rub of the eyes, then a little yawn. It was time to head home. In fact that time had passed and I should have known better. I was well aware of the ticking time bomb I had on my hands and so back to the car we started.
We almost made it. As we came to around 5minutes from the safety of my car IT happened. Moose just stopped dead. I did what I could, I swear. I came down to his level, I sympathised that he must be tired but just a few more steps and he could relax. Not good enough. Not even close. He went for it.
Crying, shouting, thrashing. There was no way I could carry him, by then my hands were already full. I cursed myself for not bringing a backpack and then told Moose that as soon as he was ready we could get going. He kept thrashing. I was getting ‘the look’ from passers by. He kept thrashing. I attempted to keep my cool. I am not usually too bothered by this sort of thing and I wasn’t pressed for time so I stood and waited for him to finish.
Then the other IT happened. Someone got involved. A stranger. He was a broad, tall man in his older years with a shock of silvery hair and a beard to match. An imposing figure even to me and he came striding straight for us at speed before stopping abruptly as though he was about to walk over Moose. I had no idea what to say. He addressed me and said “hello, I hope this is ok” before crouching down to my 2 year old rageball and he said in a booming voice “Young man. I think we have had quite enough of this. Lets walk together with Mummy” and he took his hand. Moose looked at me. I looked at Moose. We were both caught completely off guard.
It was working so I went with it. I took Moose’s other hand and we walked. The man spoke with fondness about his own Grandchildren and made jokes with us before wishing us well and going on his way as quickly as he had arrived with a thank you from a now composed Mummy. The entire encounter lasted 5 minutes at most and I was left wondering what the correct response should have been. I have certainly never allowed a stranger to take my child’s hand before but there really was no time to think so I went with my instinct!
On reflection I wish I had asked his name. I would have liked to have had the opportunity to thank him properly. I have had strangers get involved in tantrums before but never in a positive way. Plenty of tuts, or stern instruction to “sort my kid out”. Nobody helped though. It lasted 5 minutes and it was sort of nothing but I will think about that stranger for a long time I am sure. Having someone lend a hand just because he could in a world where we hear a lot in the media about why we should fear strangers, it was lovely. Thank you. Whoever you are.
Mummy & Moose