Dear Mother of Screaming Child,

I’m not smiling because I’m judging you and find your desperation amusing.

I’m smiling because I’ve been where you are and I know you will make it through, even if you don’t feel like it at the moment.

I’m smiling because I know one day you will look back on days like this and actually miss them.

I’m smiling because, like your unhappy child, I have days when I’m tired and would love to throw a fit in the middle of a department store. But because I’m not 4, I would end up arrested. That thought made me smile.

Dear young Mother, do not despair. There are people around you who understand your plight and sympathize. We would help you if we could. But the world can be a dangerous and cruel place, and we don’t know how you would receive our input, or how we could best give it. So we stand by silently and smile as you try to hurriedly complete your purchase and take your screaming child home.

But some of us don’t just smile, we pray.

We pray for you; for you to have an extra measure of love, patience, grace, wisdom, joy, peace and anything else you need in this situation.

We pray for your child to also find some peace in his upset little heart and mind.

We pray for God’s blessings on you and your sweet baby who is just having a rough, tired moment.

So I smile and pray, hoping that in my smile you find encouragement, hope and understanding reflective of the prayers being said on your behalf.

God bless you, dear Mother of young children.

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