A day of firsts. The first time my son was pushed down by another little boy and the first time my little guy threw a temper tantrum in a restaurant.

And I’m still in hiding.

What a terrible feeling it was, to watch my little 16 month old get shoved to the ground by a smug older boy. Right in front of me. He looked up at me, wondering what was going on. Luckily, he didn’t cry or want to retaliate and we recovered (after I told the older boy that we don’t push people down) and quickly went back to playing.

But I still see that look on my little guy’s face. I still feel the mommy bear instincts come raging to the surface when I visualize him getting shoved. I still feel sad that someone would do that. To my son.

And then fast forward an hour. My sweet, innocent, recently victimized little boy decided he didn’t want to leave the play area. And he told me about it. And everyone in the restaurant. Full on crying, screaming, on the floor tantrum. Our first public experience.

And I about died. Of course, people were watching the horror unfold like some kind of after school movie. No amount of counseling or consoling was making a difference. So we left.

And as soon as we leave and are in the car – crickets from the back seat.

Let’s just say that by the time we got home, my nerves and feelings were totally frayed.  I felt like a total failure. I failed to keep my son safe when the older boy pushed him. I failed in trying to quell a temper tantrum. I failed, failed, failed.

I can still feel the eyes of the onlookers on my back. Who knows what they were saying as I carried my crying toddler to the car.

Well, it’s taken a few days but I’ve come to the conclusion that – it doesn’t matter what they were saying. Little ones cry from time to time. Sometimes, they even have a little tantrum. In time, my hope is that I can guide and talk and teach my son about the best way to express himself – but that time is not now. For now, I need to just make sure I don’t lose my cool, and be consistent in the tantrum evacuation procedure.

And, I can’t look at the shoving incident as though I didn’t keep my little guy safe. These things will inevitably happen. And while I’ll do everything humanly possible to keep my little guy safe, he’ll have these experiences as he grows up. Even when I’m not there. The best thing I can do is teach him how to respond.

I know – pretty heavy for a lunch at Chick fil A, right? Man, I thought so, too. Too many mommy moments happening in a small amount of time. Too overwhelming – I mean, I didn’t study up on the “being the perfect mom in varying situations” manual before we left. There was no prep time. Maybe all of this is too much for me to handle.

No, that’s just intimidation talking. We can’t let it get us to a place of self-doubt and uneasiness. Parenting is hard. And that’s ok. We are all learning along the way to be better parents, better people. I’m sure I’ll have plenty more …opportunities to learn.

I’ll boldly hold up my “I’m new at this” card and say, “Well, that was a mess. Let’s get ready for tomorrow!”

At least my son wasn’t the only one crying that day. But we wiped our tears and gave each other hugs and ate a fruit snack. And all was ok.

And really, it is all, ok.