Reading her account of this on Facebook pierced my heart. I
have also felt the sting of a stranger’s judgment.
Going to the library with my daughters is one of my
greatest joys. On a beautiful, sunny day, my elementary aged
girls bounded from the car with excitement. The youngest had
just left the car and called back to me, “Mom can you grab my
bag?” That’s how we lug the big stacks of books that we mine
from the shelves. I picked up the bag and a stranger said,
“NOOOOOOO, she needs to learn to do things for herself.”
There was a day when that would have stung and my defensive
self would have responded either internally or out loud, “Do
you have any idea how hard I have worked to get this child to
trust and attach to me. What is the big flipping deal about
getting that bag for her?” Thankfully on that day I said, “Is that
your perspective? I disagree, this time…” We are always
working on independence, but it is a careful dance. I was at
peace with my choice to help on that day. Interactions like
these are great reminders that most people don’t know my
family’s backstory. And I often don’t know the particular life
experiences of those I cross paths with on a daily basis.
Danielle was a beautiful 3rd grade girl. Being a reading
buddy group leader with six children in her class was a highlight
of my week. Before the experience of raising children affected
by trauma, I would have had some very strong thoughts and
opinions on the fountain of tall tales that bubbled from this
child’s mouth. But my perspective had changed. She spun out
fantasies involving her parents’ professions, income level, and
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