So once we know how to stay calm when our child can't, we're good to go, right?
You see, just because you know how to do it doesn't mean you can always do it when you need to.
I had a life lesson in that yesterday evening meeting my daughter at the bus stop. I was a bit rattled (and please forgive this - it is NOT intended to be a pun) at the sight of two blind people waiting for the bus...at the stop my daughter was arriving at. I found myself triggered with a deep sense of anxiety as I could not imagine functioning in this world without my sight. I was overcome by waves of what I can only describe as distress... Wondering how their parents coped with them leaving the house by themselves? Wondering about their 'story'...what tragic circumstances befell them? Worrying about how utterly vulnerable they seemed....when my daughter's bus arrived with her disembarking in a slightly tired (though not grouchy or grumpy) state.
Guess what I didn't do?
You got it! I didn't stay calm.
And she wasn't even distressed! Just complaining about being tired!
I apparently couldn't "stay calm" because I wasn't calm in the first place...and I couldn't regain my sense of calm, either. Compared to the distress-trip I had been on, being driven to anxiously wondering and worrying about these two young people, her "fatigue" seemed so "lame" and I didn't seem to have the patience for it.
So, yes, we had a little squabble on the walk home from the bus stop - over nothing that mattered - and she was confused about what had transpired. As much as I understood what had happened, I was not able to explain it.
So, what would be my take-away now?
You have to have a plan to "stay calm", regain calm, AND accept that you will mess up sometimes and need to apologize.
Since I didn't "stay" calm or "regain" calm, I needed to apologize, and that was okay too!