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An Open Letter to the Mom in the Apple Store

To: The Mom in the Apple Store,

Today, before we spoke at the Apple Store, was not the easiest for me. The night prior, my daughter had the first-night terror of her life. She is just shy of three-years-old. When she uncharacteristically woke at 11:30 the night before, I figured she’d be dead asleep in no time at all.

She is a good sleeper. She woke excited.

Little did I know that what I thought would be a brief wake-up would end up being the precursor to a night filled with immense fear. Starting from 2:30 and lasting for over two hours, I held my poor baby as she screamed in fear that what her imagination was depicting was actually true. No amount of lullabies, hugs, rocking, prayers, empathy, or kind words could console her hysterics. Today, not only did I wake feeling sleep deprived and ridden with hay fever, but also utterly drained from putting every ounce of energy I had into attempting to comfort my little girl.

I came into the store today because my iPhone had stopped working just before bedtime last night.

My eyes red with allergies, puffy from a lack of sleep, and my skin was pale from a lack of energy, I was nothing short of a defeated mess. My 20 month-old was up ahead with my husband. I could hear screeching coming from the store. Knowing how much he loves to get a rise out of any and every one by seeing how ear-piercing his screams can be, I took in a big gulp of air as I prepped myself for what was to come.

This would likely be a too-long-for-my-liking Genius Bar appointment spent simultaneously trying to make whispering seem like it was more fun than screaming.

When I entered, I realized the screaming was not from my wild child, but from your daughter. It only took a micro-moment to realize that your daughter was grade school-aged. She had to be about 8 or more. Her top adult teeth were in, and her stature would suggest this too. She was strapped into a stroller as she screamed. I wondered if she had sensory difficulties. As I noticed you, I couldn’t help but think you didn’t seem frazzled. Compassion exuded from you as you divided your time between the person at Apple helping you and your distressed child.

Your eyes seemed to plead with the worker, “Let’s get this done quickly,” but your demeanour towards your daughter was filled with love.

I checked in with Apple and sat in my assigned seat. As I tried to get my kids set up in a way they could be entertained for the interim, it was evident my son wasn’t going to sit still. The screaming from your daughter persisted. I decided to walk over to see you with him. As I showed my son an iPad tethered to a toddler table, I looked up at you, and asked if there was anything I could do to help. I told you I had tried to run errands with kids screaming before and would be happy to offer a hand. You explained warmly that the lights, the people, the sounds were all too much for your daughter. You didn’t apologize for her, but for yourself. “Normally, I would have her iPad, but I forgot to set the lock for the rear windows in my car one day. And, she threw it out.” I smiled at you with admiration and repeated my offer of help. Within no time at all, the Apple attendant offered you a free replacement. In your selflessness, you insisted you had planned on paying, tears of gratitude welling in your eyes. He asserted that it was yours, and you left.

As I was left still squatting by the kids’ table, my heart swelled.

Unlike me, you didn’t look like you were caught in a whirlwind. Looks and stares were being shot your way repeatedly, and yet you continued on unabashed. Your only focuses were your daughter and getting the iPad replaced for your family. Your presence, selflessness, and gratitude moved me today and set an incredible example. I left reflecting on the obstacles, the hardships you and your daughter must face far too regularly and how exemplary you were. I wanted to thank you for the impact you left on me.


Yours truly,


One of the Other Moms in the Apple Store


  1. It’s so humbling when we have experiences like this. Very often I feel as if I’m over my head, then I see someone that could potentially be pulling their hair out, and they’re handling things with grace. This woman is an inspiration. Thank you for sharing this story. I’m so sorry your little one had night terrors. How horrible! I hope it’s only a one time thing.

    1. Thanks so much, Tarynn! The woman really impacted me. And thanks for your kindness about her night terror. I’d only ever heard of them before, and it was very hard.

  2. I definitely look up to parents who can keep their cool when their kids are throwing tantrums or having a sensory overload. Lovely letter and so sorry your daughter is having night terrors.

  3. Sweet of you to put this out there. It is great to have a humbling experience every once and awhile. Hope you little girl sleeps better tonight! My son went through a short phase of this off and on for only about a month. Then it was over. So hard to deal with because you are not in control.

  4. Beautiful Alana! Its always a humbling perspective shift when we see others with much more challenging circumstances than ours. We never know what others are dealing with behind the scenes and even if we can’t see it, I think it’s good to remember that in our daily interactions with each other. Sometimes it’s easy to be sucked into our own challenges and forget to notice those around us, but when we do notice, it’s a blessing. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  5. What I love about blogs and stories such as yours is that it’s nice to know we are not alone— especially in situations such as this! When you are in the moment sometimes it feels so isolating. Hoping your daughter’s night terrors end soon…

    1. Thank you so much, Katie! I couldn’t agree more. One of the absolute best parts of blogging is the warmth and support of the mommy blogging community <3 bloggers like you!

  6. Isn’t it beautiful that you got to witness TWO amazing things: a mother’s unconditional love, and the kindness of strangers. What makes it even more beautiful is that you were one of the strangers!

    Stories like this restore my faith in humanity. The tiny acts to one are so monumental to others…

  7. This made me fill up, it’s great to read these kind of stories but also you offering help and apple replacing the iPad. Today the world doesn’t seem cruel, but kind and filled with love 🙂

  8. What a beautiful and inspirational story. Thank you for sharing it. The woman sounds amazing and I am also impressed that Apple was humane and generous in replacing it free of charge.

  9. I always feel frazzled in public, even when my kids are well behaved. This lady is truly an inspiration. Thanks so much for sharing.

  10. I needed to read this tonight. I love when we can and do focus on the positive side of parenting. This world is so judgey and impatient. This woman is fantastic. And you are a gem for offering to help.

  11. Thank you for reminding us there are still those good people out there, businesses included, and that we aren’t alone. That there are those moms we can look to for strength and guidance.
    And you are not alone (as I’m sure you’ve found). Night terrors are terrifying. I’ll never forget my daughters first one (around the same age as your daughter). No one had told me about them, prepared me for it. It was unnerving seeing that fear in her eyes, and feeling utterly helpless. Trying to remind myself it wasn’t me she was afraid of. As the weeks wore on, and we experienced them here and there, I remember doing so much research, trying to understand about sleep/wake stages, how being overtired was likely contributing to it. It was exhausting, but understanding the scientific aspects of it helped.
    She is now 3.5, and sleeping again. She has been for some time now. It will end mama, those nights of fear. Of course, it will disappear without you really realizing it until the mom next to you mentions her first experience the night before, and you will offer condolence, tips and tricks, and reflect that it has suddenly been x amount of weeks since your beautiful little girl has experienced them. Instead, now she can tell you about those bumps in the night that make her afraid, and you can talk about how ‘the eagle that took her away from mama’ was just a bad dream and reassure her that you will always be by her side whenever she needs you. The challenges will change and evolve, but so will you.
    So for now, sing, rock, hold her tight. And remember, you will be her everything and she will always know that.

  12. Absolutely amazing! So many great lessons embedded within this post. I think she was surrounded by angels that day – one of them being you!

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