“It’s Jack,” a tiny girl with black pigtails shouted as she burst through the door.
“Mama, it’s Jack.”
“What, hija?” Her mother asked, slipping into her native tongue.
I was sitting by the woman and took the opportunity to inspect my hand. It brushed against something gooey on the couch that came away on my fingers. As inconspicuously as possible, I tried to wipe the mysterious residue back onto the couch.
The child spoke quickly in a combination of Spanish, English, and overly excited little girl gibberish. She flapped her hands and danced back and forth as she tried to explain what happened. Her mother grabbed her by the shoulders and calmly asked, “What happened to Jack?”
This was all the magic that it took for the girl to regain her senses and speak clearly.
“His batteries died and he’s stuck in the road,” she blurted.
“Oh my God,” the woman exclaimed and brought her hands to her face. “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
The child escaped her mother’s grasp, ran across the room, and pulled herself onto the table where she began dancing and singing in Spanish.
I wasn’t sure what to do, rush to catch the girl if she fell, investigate the Jack situation, or pull out a bottle of hand sanitizer for a fresh start on the visit. Not wanting to be rude, I sat and did nothing.
Meanwhile, the woman snapped into motion. She jumped up and ordered her older daughter to find Jack and bring him back. She lured her younger daughter off of the table and gave her a snack, and returned to sit next to me, unruffled from her activities. A minute later, a laughing boy in a wheelchair rolled inside propelled by his older sister. His little sister saw him and screamed, “Jack!” She ran to him and hugged his arm.
Just like that, all was well again.
My best advice when in the storm of conflict is to do nothing, just wait, especially when the conflict belongs to someone else. People have the answers to their own problems; sometimes they just need the tools, time, or motivation to take the action that is right for them.