Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Breaking Point

As I stood in line at Starbucks the other day, I saw a 3-year-old sobbing in her mother’s arms. This wasn’t a head-banging tantrum, but she had obviously hit that point of falling apart. The conversation went something like:

Girl: But I want the white kind of chocolate milk.
Mom: They don’t have it here. They are making you a special drink.
Girl: But I only want the white one.
Mom: We’ll get it the next time we visit Grandma.
Me: I suppose we all have our breaking point.

I’ve been thinking about this since that incident. It is true that most of us don’t burst into tears when we can’t have the food or drink we want. But at the same time, there’s probably at least one thing that pushes each of us over the emotional edge to the point where all we can do is sob.

For me it is usually associated with an occasional fall that leaves me scared and sometimes physically hurt. It’s that helpless feeling of being out of control of your destiny. It’s a feeling of wanting to be held and comforted by a mom.

Usually some sort of distraction is all that it takes to turn a hopeless situation like this around. In the case of the little girl, I commented on her pretty pink dress that so nicely matched her flip-flops and headband. She mustered a smile and said she had picked out her dress. So the white chocolate milk had taken a back burner.

Is there something in particular that pushes your buttons to the point where you just can’t deal with it other than by falling apart? What defines your breaking point?


Blogger Mother of Invention said...

You probably made that little girl's day!
Me? Over the edge? Ha! It's usually something small like not being able to get the keys out of the lock, or spilling something, or having a bunch of pots and pans fall and make mega-noise, or stepping on my cat's tail,burning toast....and usually it's after a really tiring time when I'm not handling things well physically...just the straw that breaks the camel's back type of thing.

6:43 PM  
Blogger Old Lady said...

Here, here!

9:47 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

My son (age 4) can be brought to tears if his yoghurt is not served right. Some days he wants it with cereal on top and other days he wants it with cereal on bottom.

Most recently, my daughter (age 7) got upset because I had ordered her 2 slices of pepperoni pizza at her day camp (she wanted cheese) - she wasn't around when I put in the order and she always orders pepperoni when we go out.

9:00 AM  
Blogger RennyBA said...

A tough question - is it okay if I just say hello and wish you the very best end to your week?

2:26 PM  

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