To The Mother of the Child Having a Public Tantrum...

...I see you. That moment of panic, when every nerve stands on edge. When every head in the room turns towards you to see what you're going to do. When that shrill tone pierces from your child's chest, I see you freeze. I know the sense of dread that washes over you. I've been you when raising a typical child, confidently waiting out the yelling and flailing knowing that my child was essentially being a "brat." How easy it was to cross my arms and wait it out. Because my child was just being a consumer, waiting something she could not have. My role was to stay firm and not give in. It's an easy lesson to teach, that tantrums don't give you what you want.
And now I'm you raising an emotionally delayed child, whose tantrum is a symptom of something more. Your child cannot hear you when that wire in her brain gets tripped no matter what you do or say. When your heart fills with compassion and fear and attempts again and again for your voice to be heard by your child who is spiraling into full-blown crisis. I see you floundering, trying to stay calm, trying to help her find calm. I see you unsure of how to reach your child. I see you hesitate. I see you feel ashamed that you cannot help your child in this moment, not as much as you want to. 
I see your shoulders tense, your heart ache, your mind race. I see people react to your child, trying to appease her, touching her, addressing her directly - making it worse. I see them removing the trigger, escalating her fury. 
I see the sheer interruption that your parenting moment brings to society around you. No one can hear each other or really ignore you, no matter how much space they wish to give you in that moment. I know that feeling of total lack of control of your life, your child, your day, your desire to stay in your location. None of that matters because you must physically remove your child from the situation. I see you abandon your cart, leave your older child hanging, your phone ringing unheard. I see you tearfully get to your car, completely exhausted for the day, whether it's evening or morning. You've been gone from the house for 20 minutes but it may as well have been forever.