Earlier I encountered an African American mother and her small son aged 4. The boy was chattering excitedly , talking a mile a minute and pulling his mothers arm as they walked. The mother body language was tired, she appeared to be looking through her child as he fought to get her gaze and her attention – as a result he go louder and puller her harder and harder.
Finally the mom stopped in the middle of the street, She puller her child’s arm so hard he spun around and came to face her, she slapped him and he screamed. She began to yell and curse at him and he, of course cried louder. So she began to yell at him to shut up.
I gently approached this family and spoke softly, “Hi momma, ” I said.
The mom has tears streaming down her face “HI” she responded.
I came closer to her and whispered, “Momma, ” may I speak to your baby/” She nodded yes.
I asked the child his name and he gladly volunteered that is name was Reggie.. I asked him his age and he confirmed that he was 4.
I looked at his mom and I said, again in a very low voice, “your son is beautiful momma. Your baby is so beautiful.”
Reggie’s momma began to cry in earnest. I stood close to her and patted her back. She rocked Reggie and told him that she was sorry. That she loved him. She apologized to me and began to share with me that her husband had just died as had her grandfather, the two people she could turn to for support. She had some serious health concerns and had just tried to make contact with family members out of town whom she could not reach.
She was tired, lost and scared and as a result had not responded well to her son – who was just, well just being a child.
I said to Reggie, “Momma is having a bad day – could you perhaps try to be very quite until you both get home? Young Reggie hugged his momma and said “I am sorry you are having a bad day Momma – I can try to be quite! I will do the best I can!”
Both momma and I smiled at his precious and earnest statement. Momma hugged her little boy, she picked him us and we all hugged each other – a group hug on the street.
Momma thanked me for being kind and I accepted her thanks. I asked her is there were any resources she needed and made sure that she had my number. I promised to help with fund raising
or what ever her next steps might be..
She hugged me again and walked away to catch a bus – she was now holding her son in her arms and singing softly into his ear. And he was being very quite..