To the Mom in the Apple Store Who Changed Me Forever

To: the Mom in the Apple Store,

Today, before we spoke at the Apple Store, was not the easiest for me. The night prior, my daughter had the first night terror of her life. She is just shy of three-years-old. When she uncharacteristically woke at 11:30 the night before, I figured she’d be dead asleep in no time at all. She is a good sleeper. She woke excited. Little did I know that what I thought would be a brief wake-up would end up being the precursor to a night filled with immense fear. Starting from 2:30 and lasting for over two hours, I held my poor baby as she screamed in fear that what her imagination was depicting was actually true. No amount of lullabies, hugs, rocking, prayers, empathy, or kind words could console her hysterics. Today, not only did I wake feeling sleep deprived and ridden with hay fever, but also utterly drained from putting every ounce of energy I had into attempting to comfort my little girl.
I came into the store today because my iPhone had stopped working just before bedtime last night. My eyes red with allergies, puffy from a lack of sleep, and my skin was pale from a lack of energy, I was nothing short of a defeated mess. My 20 month-old was up ahead with my husband. I could hear screeching coming from the store. Knowing how much he loves to get a rise out of any and everyone by seeing how ear-piercing his screams can be, I took in a big gulp of air as I prepped myself for what was to come. This would likely be a too-long-for-my-liking Genius Bar appointment spent simultaneously trying to make whispering seem like it was more fun than screaming. When I entered, I realized the screaming was not from my wild child, but from your daughter. It only took a micro-moment to realize that your daughter was grade school aged. She had to be about 8 or more. Her top adult teeth were in, and her stature would suggest this too. She was strapped into a stroller as she screamed. I wondered if she had sensory difficulties. As I noticed you, I couldn’t help but think you didn’t seem frazzled. Compassion exuded from you as you divided your time between the person at Apple helping you and your distressed child. Your eyes seemed to plead with the worker, “Let’s get this done quickly,” but your demeanour towards your daughter was filled with love. I checked in with Apple and sat in my assigned seat. As I tried to get my kids set up in a way they could be entertained for the interim, it was evident my son wasn’t going to sit still. The screaming from your daughter persisted. I decided to walk over to see you with him. As I showed my son an iPad tethered to a toddler table, I looked up at you, and asked if there was anything I could do to help. I told you I had tried to run errands with kids screaming before and would be happy to offer a hand. You explained warmly that the lights, the people, the sounds were all too much for your daughter. You didn’t apologize for her, but for yourself. “Normally, I would have her iPad, but I forgot to set the lock for the rear windows in my car one day. And, she threw it out.” I smiled at you with admiration and repeated my offer of help. Within no time at all, the Apple attendant offered you a free replacement. In your selflessness, you insisted you had planned on paying, tears of gratitude welling in your eyes. He asserted that it was yours, and you left.
As I was left still squatting by the kids’ table, my heart swelled. Unlike me, you didn’t look like you were caught in a whirlwind. Looks and stares were being shot your way repeatedly, and yet you continued on unabashed. Your only focuses were your daughter and getting the iPad replaced for your family. Your presence, selflessness, and gratitude moved me today and set an incredible example. I left reflecting on the obstacles, the hardships you and your daughter must face far too regularly and how exemplary you were. I wanted to thank you for the impact you left on me.

Yours truly,

One of the Other Moms in the Apple Store

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Alana Pace
Alana is a part-time yoga teacher and part-time stay-at-home mom to two young toddlers. Having grown up backing onto an extensive evergreen forest and having been interested in Early Childhood Education from a young age, she and her kids finds adventure and life lessons wherever they many wander. Read more of her writing at Parenting from the Heart and follow her on Facebook and Twitter to get regular updates.