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Let it Go

My friend and I were standing in front of a restaurant, chatting and enjoying the sun and waiting for a table to become available. A mom with three small children walked toward us to where her car was parked. She looked frazzled. Two little boys were holding her hand and screaming at the top of their lungs. The other child was asleep in a baby carrier.

As they neared their car, one of the little boys plopped himself next to the car and loudly yelled that he wasn’t going anywhere because he was way too mad his grilled cheese had been made with white cheese instead of yellow cheese. The mom was yelling back and telling him to get in the car immediately; trying to transfer a sleeping baby into a car seat and buckle her other little boy while keeping an eye on her protesting son.

I walked over and asked if I could give her a hand. She sighed and muttered, “Whatever, sure. Good luck.”

I bent down to where the little boy sat and told him that getting the wrong cheese in your grilled cheese is the worst and that I bet it made him feel really mad inside. He looked at me, nodding, but said he wasn’t moving and would only get in his seat if he was picked up.

“Fair enough,” I said. “I am here to give you a lift.”

He buckled himself as the woman got into the driver’s seat and slammed the door. I smiled and waved to the woman, saying I hope her day got better. She didn’t wave back. She quickly backed out of the space and zoomed out of the parking lot.

My friend and I sat down at our table, ordered, and had almost finished our lunch when my friend spoke up.

“I am so angry,” she said. “I’ve actually been mad this entire lunch. I haven’t even enjoyed this sandwich and, have to admit, I’ve barely listened to a word you’ve said. I just can’t believe that woman in that car! You were nice and helped her and even picked up her little boy and buckled him in and she didn’t even say ‘Thank you.’ She just tore out of the parking lot…”

I just laughed. Truthfully, I had forgotten about the entire incident until she brought it up and was wholeheartedly enjoying both my lunch and my time with my friend.

“I haven’t thought about that for even a second since I shut their car door!” I said.

Sometimes we have to let things go for the simple reason that carrying them takes too much energy.

Author: Alyssa Forcehimes, PhD

An expert in behavior change, substance use disorders and empathic communication, Dr. Alyssa Forcehimes serves as President of The Change Companies® and Train for Change Inc.® She lives in Arizona with her husband and two daughters.