Just got home. It’s 9:30 pm and everyone just got in bed. It’s an hour past the “bigs” bedtime and two hours past baby Maggie Ruth’s. As you can imagine… Everyone is just in a lovely mood. We just came home from a long day, which began with “Muffins for Mom” today at the girls preschool. We managed “well enough”. We have most certainly had worse adventures at school functions. The last one being, rolling in on two wheels for the Easter egg hunt in the park. Thank God, (and I absolutely mean this with the very depths of my soul) THANK GOD for other school moms. As we pulled in for that fun trip, she came to the van, pulled out the big kids and took them with her so that all the eggs wouldn’t be gone by the time I parked the car and got out the baby. Since we arrived early, and left without any meltdowns today… I’m gonna call “Muffins For Mom” a win this year.
Then to lunch, then home for naps, then loaded back in the car to pay bills and run errands for the afternoon. We went to the dreaded walmart. It was a fairly non-negotiable trip, so I said a prayer and loaded the three down into the cart. As we approached the building everyone exclaimed they needed to go to the restroom. Lovely. Taking a cart full of underexposed immune systems is the LAST thing I want to take into a Wal-Mart bathroom. But it’s THIS, or pee pants. Pick your poison. We go to the restroom and a bathroom attendant tells us that’s she’s mopping and will be a while, and tells us to go to the restroom located in the back of the store. Through the aisles we go.. girls screaming the entire time of the urgency for a potty. We make it to the restroom, cram the cart through the restroom door, only to be greeted with a great big OUT OF ORDER sign. Awesome. Sweet pickles. Sugar sticks. FRIED BOLOGNA SANDWICH. (I’ve been using foods instead of profanity.. bear with me).
We make it back up to the front of the store restroom with a very long line and someone who is “occupying” the big stall. (And I am using the word “occupying” so loosely that the hinges might fall off and a door hit the floor. This smell could peel paint.) But you see, I need the big stall to get the cart into it, so I can keep an eye on all of my three littlest who will probably have the swine flu by the time we leave the facilities. I finally cave and tell Charlotte she will have to potty in a single stall by herself. She refuses. I reassure her that I am right outside the door, I’m watching. She can do it. And guess what? She does it!! Wonderful! She doesn’t come out…. ?? Why is she not coming out??
“Charlotte, honey are you alright?”
“Charlotte, baby I’m right here. What’s wrong?”
Oh yes people. She’s locked herself in the stall and can’t get out. We do the only thing that’s logical. I make her crawl under the door, TOUCHING THE FLOOR OF THE WAL-MART BATHROOM. I just gagged as I typed it. I asked her how had she gotten the door stuck and she replied she didn’t know, and as I gave the door a little push before we left, just out of curiosity, it opened. I look at her bewildered, and she just says “Oh, I was just pushing the wrong way. Sorry mama.” 😑
Since we were on the road at dinner time chick-fil-a was the only obvious choice. We walk in, service is as wonderful as it always is. I get everyone settled, pass out food and cups and ketchup. I cut Maggie Ruth’s food into micro pieces and everyone is nearly done by the time I take my first bite. I’m exhausted. I’m nearly in tears. And like a phsyco, (or a saint- I haven’t decided), I keep whispering “Jesus, sweet Jesus, hold me up Jesus…” with each breath.
An elderly woman and her husband stop at our table as they leave. She smiles and she pats me on the shoulder. “Honey, I have been watching you. You are a good mama, and I have watched you feed these children, direct them, praise them, a discipline them, just like a good mama should. I know it may seem like the days are long, but this is just a season. Mine are grown and gone now. But I remember how tired I was at the end of the day, and I also know how I miss it now.”
Now granted this woman has no idea I just had my eldest crawl across the walmart bathroom…. BUT I LOVE HER. I HUGGED HER. I DON’T KNOW HER NAME. But I KNOW it was Jesus. I just wanted to fold her up and put her in my pocket. Her husband ushered her away, probably in fear that the mental lady with all the kids was going to steal her. 😂
This is women. This is “mamas”. This is what we do day in and day out for our kids, and well- our peoples kids too. Because in this phase, and maybe in the next one too, (I’m not sure yet… we haven’t made it to middle school dances) this is what you do. You take kids to the potty, and you make lunches, and you kiss the booboos, and you panic when you rush kids to the ER, and you take on other kids as your own, and love them, and rear them up just like yours. It’s what we do.
Us women are incredible really. The women in my tribe, or fellow school mom, or teacher, or dance instructor, or aunt, or cousin, friend, or “lifers” as I call them. People you do life with, your whole life. There is not one single second of our life, or our day that I could do without them. I’m not saying we can always show up. My gosh.. sometimes we can’t even do 100% for the people under our own roof. Sometimes we have to say no. But having women and friends, and mama’s, and single friends, and married friends, and divorced friends, and friend’s in every season.. is what the spice of life is all about. There are women in my family, and women in my life who help raise these girls just as much as I raise them.
I use to run from help. I hated it when people asked if they could help fix a plate for the girls or hold one of them. It somehow offended me as they thought I wasn’t capable of caring for my own kids. But what I’m learning more everyday is that it’s not about that, it’s about receiving love. Receiving a blessing, and being a blessing by allowing someone to bless you. I remember my mama saying this to me a few years back. “Just let someone bless you, Hannah. It’s not for you, it’s for them.” And I looked at her like she had three heads and kept right on moving. But guess what? As always, Mama was right.
Happy Mamas day. To all of you mothers who are, and who were, and who are still yet to come. Especially to you. Biggest hugs. You’ll be doing crazy chick-fil-a and walmart trips before you know it. I’m thinking of you this weekend! ❤