My Hero in the Supermarket | Hadassah Eventsur

Yesterday I met my hero. This hero wasn’t a chayal on the battlefield covered in dirt dodging bullets from every direction. Nor was my hero a million-dollar donor at the Yeshiva dinner. My hero wasn’t in the hospital corridors healing the wounded and infirm from the horrors of war. Nor was my hero shteiging eighteen hours a day in the beis medrash as a zechus for Am Yisrael. Of course they are all heroes, but I did not have the honor of meeting any of them yesterday.

Yesterday, I met my hero on the supermarket checkout line. My hero was wearing a snood and was surrounded by her five children. Her shopping cart was filled to the brim with fruits and vegetables, potato starch and eggs. I met her on erev the second days of Pesach, shopping for yet another round of yuntif meals. She was waiting to pay at the checkout counter, when suddenly, her (what looked like) five-year-old daughter, threw herself onto the floor in preparation for an epic temper tantrum. This wasn’t an I-want-candy-nowwww type of tantrum. It was a full on belly flop, kicking and screaming, mouth licking the floor type of tantrum.

It was the type of tantrum that draws in the eyes of spectators from miles away, the type that elicits clicking of tongues and shaking of heads. I could almost read the speech bubbles hovering above the heads of the surrounding shoppers.“Can’t she get her daughter under control?” “Parents these days don’t know how to discipline” “If that was my daughter, I never would allow such a thing”.

My heart swelled up with pity as I watched this scene unfold in front of me. I caught a glance at her other four children. They shifted uncomfortably in their places as they looked to their mother to save the day. I tried to avert my gaze, to pretend that I wasn’t witnessing the events in front of me, but my eyes zeroed in on my hero’s face. She stayed rooted to her spot and made no attempt to thwart the tantrum. She did not shush her daughter, threaten to leave or offer her a bribe. Instead, she turned to her other children and in a steady voice she stated “Oy, she is so tired, she hasn’t slept properly in days.” And with that declaration, she continued with the task of placing food items on the counter. One by one I witnessed her childrens’ shoulders relax, they aborted the act of feet shifting, and resumed helping their mother unload the cart.

Within a minute, the little girl lifted her wet head from the floor to catch a glimpse of her mother, and almost on cue, the mother seized her opportunity to connect with her child. She swooped in, gathered her daughter into her arms, and gently stroked her hair as she bounced her up and down. No words were spoken, but so much had been said in that moment. The message was clear. I can separate your behavior from your character. I will never put other peoples’ opinions before your needs. I am not ashamed of my children. I am your safe person. Your feelings are valid. I accept all parts of you, even the dysregulated parts.

So to my hero in the checkout line, thank you for modeling what real gevurah is. Thank you for being an example of what a confident and connected mother looks like. But most of all, thank you for reminding us that oftentimes, the most priceless lessons are to be found in the messiness of life.

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Hadassah Eventsur, MS, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist and a Mishpacha Magazine Contributor. She is the founder of MindfullyYou, an on-line program that provides support and education for Frum Women who struggle with executive functioning. Visit MindfullyYou.org and @mindfully__you on Instagram for more information and to sign up

 

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6 COMMENTS

    • nice story.
      Not practical for most people.
      how about this
      its ok to be perturbed and uncomfortable when your child does something embarrassing.
      And if CH”vsh you react in less than clear minded fashion, its ok.
      The torah does not demand of us to be like a stone that cannot be overturned.
      See Chinuch mitzva 338
      and Choshen Mishpat 421, SM”A 14

      SO lets stop idolizing the therapists’ (fantasy) view of what an appropriate rection looks like, spread by the various jewish publications we look forward to reading each week, and embrace reality with candor, humor, and understanding that perfection is not required.

      • Ever heard of cognitive dissonance? Lets just be honest with ourselves just because something is difficult doesn’t mean it’s not correct.
        Please don’t call calculated responses (to children’s actions) what you call ‘therapists view’ fantasy. Just realize it’s something to strive for as it really brings better results in the long run, and children will be much happier. Children need structure, the foundation of a child’s structure is a strong parent. When a parent let’s the child take control (of a situation) the child won’t feel secure anymore and will act out more in the future. That’s besides for the fact that the child now knows if he carries on long enough he will get what he wants.
        And btw it looks a lot worse when you’re trying bribe your kid during a tantrum to get him to stop.

        Great story and lesson! Thanks!!

  1. Thanks for sharing this awesome story.
    I’m no super-hero, but the last time this happened to me with my daughter at the checkout counter, I turned to the person behind me and asked her calmly: Is that your child? Then I walked out of the store and a minute later my daughter followed me.
    We all love our children dearly, and each situation requires its own response Besiyata Dishmaya.

  2. First, you’re a phenomenal writer, I enjoyed the way you write and was fully entertained by the author like unique way you worded this amazing story. You should do more public writing, you’re very good!
    2nd, I can so relate, as it happened to me before and yes, I had a very similar response to this woman, but the only thing I didn’t do was hug my child afterwards… I did, later on, but not at the store. But wow, what a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing. Reminded me of this lady at Evergreen in Monsey that picked up her child to choose a donut on Chanuka. And after that child took a sweet time and a half a tantrum to choose between a pink and blue donut, she hugged her daughter, kissed her on the forehead and looked her in the eye and told her: Great choice! I was shooked inside! I told her she amazed me!

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