As you know or can imagine, traveling with kids is just a complete joy (Insert thick sarcasm here). They get thrown off of their routines, they don’t sleep well, and while they remain adorable through all of this they also become unmanageable little terrors.
We had the privilege of being able to attend my brother’s graduation at the end of last month. We’d struggled for the previous day and half with basically no naps for our toddler, and it had been physically and mentally exhausting. We were completely wiped out.
I finally got the tired little toddler to sleep. He hadn’t napped that day, or the day before, and it was nothing short of a miracle that I got him down so close to his bedtime.
I heard a knock on the door, so I assumed my husband must have forgotten his key when he ran out for snacks.
They continued knocking loudly, and incessantly. I ran over to the door, pulled it open, and it was a small child. They couldn’t have been any older than 7. They looked startled that it was a stranger opening the door, and said very loudly, “Sorry I thought this was my sisters”.
I said (quietly, in an effort to keep my toddler asleep), “I have a baby sleeping, please go”, and I closed the door.
I was concerned about the light coming through the open door, and the noise from the conversation, and my whole goal was to get them away as fast as possible so I that I could keep my sweet toddler asleep.
The longer I sat in that room, the angrier I got. I had a flurry of aggravated thoughts spinning through my exhausted brain. I sat there in that dark hotel room and just stewed in my frustration.
My husband came back with snacks, and by then I was just fuming.
He simply, and wisely after agreeing that it was an absolute relief that our sweet toddler had remained asleep, “It was just a kid”.
Then it hit me. As much as I am in denial about my son getting older, in a few years…that will be my son. That will be him annoying random strangers, doing his best to remember but regularly forgetting the “good manners”, and etiquette I’ll do my best to teach him. Kids aren’t tiny grown ups, and they are just trying to figure out a world that has countless rules, written and unwritten, official and unofficial.
If it were my son, I would hope that a stranger would treat him with kindness and patience. I would hope that they wouldn’t make assumptions about my parenting, and that they realize he is still learning.
Just like the rest of us, they are just trying to figure out the world.