Lenore Koppelman

Public meltdowns are never easy on parents, but sometimes a stranger comes along and makes them a little bit more bearable. This was the case for Lenore Koppelman, mom to an "awesomely autistic" little boy named Ralph, during a recent trip to Universal Orlando Resort.

The mom shared a post detailing her experience, which took a turn for the worse when her son had a major meltdown, and the sweet way employees at the park showed up to make things better for Ralph and his family.

Like most kids, Ralph was incredibly excited to go on a specific ride during his day at the theme park. He remained patient through a long day before he reached the ride of his dreams. When they finally made it to the Spider-man ride (which Ralph had been looking forward to all day), the family collected handicap-access tickets and waited in a cool spot for his turn to board the ride. But sadly, when they approached the ride, they learned it was broken. Parents, you can imagine how this went over with the excited little boy—any kid would be devastated in this situation, and Ralph had a full-on meltdown.


"As wonderful, loving, intelligent and incredible as Ralph is, sometimes he struggles. (Don't we all?) When he struggles the hardest, he can have something known as an 'autistic meltdown'. Some people who are not educated about autism might see it as a temper tantrum," writes Ralph's mom in a Facebook post about the family's experience. "But the fact of the matter is that it is not the act of a spoiled and naughty child. It's a cry for help. This is Ralph's way of saying 'I don't know how to monitor and regulate my emotions right now. I need help, please! I'm scared! I'm overwhelmed! I want to feel better and I don't know how!'. And here came Jen to the rescue."

Jen, an employee at the amusement park swooped in like a real-life superhero. She saw Ralph lying on the ground as his mother tried to lift him up so he wouldn't be stepped on by a passer-by, and she rushed over. She lay on the floor alongside the child and encouraged him to let out all his frustration.

Jen stayed with Ralph until he felt better, then led him to the park's gift shop and allowed him to choose anything up to $50 to take home. According to Lenore's post, other park employees were equally supportive and kind to the family.

"THANK YOU for recognizing that Ralphie is a GREAT kid. A SWEET kid who just struggles with certain things (as we ALL do, neurodiverse or not). THANK YOU for treating him with SO much kindness and patience. THANK YOU to your supervisors and whomever trained you so well. THANK YOU for paying such close attention. THANK YOU for BEING THERE for us today, and for making us feel like Ralph's well-being was your top priority. He is OUR top priority because we love him more than ANYTHING and ANYONE, but you all only just met him today. And yet you behaved as if you were family. And we TRULY cannot thank you enough," writes Lenore.

We can't even imagine how much these incredible gestures must have meant to Ralph and his family. By showing up to save the day like this, Jen and the rest of the team took what could have been an awful day for this child and turned it to a memory he and his family will likely cherish for a long time. Ralph may not have had the chance on the Spider-man ride, but he did have an encounter with a real-life superhero.

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Motherhood is a practice in learning, growing and loving more than you ever thought possible. Even as a "veteran" mama of four young sons and one newly adopted teenager, Jalyssa Richardson enthusiastically adapts to whatever any given day has in store—a skill she says she's refined through the years.

Here's what just one day in her life looks like:

Jalyssa says she learned to embrace agility throughout her motherhood journey. Here's more from this incredible mama of five boys.

What is the most challenging part of your day as a mom of five?

Time management! I want to meet each of the boys' individual needs—plus show up for myself—but I often feel like someone gets overlooked.

What's the best part of being a mom of five?

The little moments of love. The hugs, the kisses, the cuddles, the smiles... they all serve as little reminders that I am blessed and I'm doing okay.

Are there misconceptions about raising boys?

There are so many misconceptions about raising boys. I think the biggest one is that boys don't have many emotions and they're just so active all the time. My boys display many emotions and they also love to be sweet and cuddly a lot of the time.

What do you think would surprise people the most about being a mom of five?

How much I enjoy it. I never knew I wanted to be a mom until I was pregnant with my first. My desire only grew and the numbers did! I am surprised with every single baby as my capacity to love and nurture grows. It's incredible.

How do you create balance and make time for yourself?

Balance for me looks like intentional planning and scheduling because I never want my boys to feel like they aren't my first priority, but it is extremely difficult. What I try to do is not fit it all into one day. I have work days because motherhood is my first priority. I fit in segments of self-care after the kids' bedtime so I don't grow weary.

What's the biggest lesson you have learned from motherhood?

I have learned that sacrifice is actually beautiful. I was terrified of the selflessness motherhood would require, but I've grown so much through the sacrifice. There is nothing better than living for something bigger than myself.

When did you first feel like a mom? How has your motherhood evolved?

I first felt like a mom when I was pregnant with my first son and I intentionally chose to change my eating habits so my body could be strong and healthy for him. I didn't have to think twice—I just did what I thought would be best for him. That decision being so effortless made me realize I was made for motherhood.

My perspective has changed with each baby as I've realized motherhood doesn't have to be one-size-fits-all. With my first son, I was a by-the-book mama and it was so stressful. With each baby, I have felt more freedom and it has made motherhood so much more beautiful. I have evolved into the mother that they need, I am perfect for these boys.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Naya Rivera/Instagram

As mamas we want our babies to be safe, and that's what makes what happened to Glee actress Naya Rivera and her 4-year-old son Josey so heartbreaking. Late Wednesday night news broke that Rivera was missing and presumed drowned after her 4-year-old son, Josey, was found floating alone on a rented boat on Lake Piru in Ventura County, California.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Ventura County Sheriff's Department Capt. Eric Buschow said the mother and her preschooler were swimming near the boat Wednesday afternoon. Josey got back into the rented boat after the swim but his mother did not. The preschooler was later found by other boaters, sleeping alone in the boat. Rescuers were able to figure out who he was because Rivera's wallet and identification were on the boat.


Our hearts are breaking for Josey and his dad right now. So much is unknown about what happened on Lake Piru but one thing is crystal clear: Naya Rivera has always loved her son with all her heart.

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