As my oldest is finishing his last year of high school, I have been doing a lot of reminiscing. Going through pictures of him as a baby and preschooler has not helped my sappy mood one bit. I find myself painting those years a bit lovelier than they might have been. Sweet smelling, chubby cheeked babies and energy filled toddlers, following my every word and excitedly learning new things and going fun places. If I am being completely honest, there were plenty of days that we all stayed in our pajamas, I was ready for them to nap by 9 am and I was the chubby cheeked one, seeking comfort in the food left on everyone’s plate after every meal. And the sweet smell was the room deodorizing spray that masked the stench of a solid 9 years of diaper duty in the house. But those memories aren’t as fun to recall. Remember how much everyone loved the zoo? Yes, that’s the stuff I’m talking about.
My desire to go back in time is always heightened when I am at the grocery store or Target, where there is never a short supply of Mamas and their littles scattered around. I glance around, while trying to check things off of my list, and am easily distracted at the interactions between them. I could people watch all day long – and Mamas and their littles are my very favorite to observe. Watching a new Mama walk past me with a peacefully sleeping baby in a car seat nestled in the cart just makes my heart melt. I watch her carefully choose the softest tissues and healthiest yogurts, etc. What I am forgetting is the desperate urgency she was feeling to get through her list before her sweet bundle woke up and started screaming for milkie. Ahhhhh, I will admit that it’s quite a bit more fun to leisurely stroll down the aisles and actually read the ingredient list on an item if necessary. Still, I always thought it was fun to have a helper with me on these trips, and that I miss. Mind you, when my 16 year old took our family’s list for the week and did the shopping for me last month when I was sick – I felt so entirely spoiled and proud!
On the very same trip to the store, just a few steps away, I witnessed a Mama and her preschooler, Carter. I learned his name quickly because she says it repeatedly. Carter wanted yogurt with candy in it. His Mama was trying to get him excited about the low sugar option next to it, with little success. I can assure you that it took tiny Carter about 3 minutes to all together LOSE HIS MIND over the debate.
I walked away, remembering that I hated having an audience when I was in a similar situation, so I don’t know the outcome. Did Carter get his yogurt?! I can admit to having both thrown the darn sugar filled yogurt in the cart to avoid further embarrassment AND sticking to my guns and carrying a screaming child out of the store. Was it the time/place for a life lesson, or could it wait?! Desperate times call for desperate measures. I do remember that trips to the grocery store with four kids 7 and under was quite a feat. Pulling one cart full of kids and pushing one cart full of food – it made me sweat more than any work our regime I could create today.
All in all, when I look around at the young Mamas and children, the one thing I can usually walk away with is the feeling of “Yes, I remember that….”. I’ve been through it, or some form of it. Some of it was good and I would love to go back, and some of it I praise God that I made it out alive, with the kids in tow. I have to admit that I am curious what in my future awaits and how I will deal with it. As a Grandma, will I be extra patient, knowing what can slide and what is most important? Will I have the great advice and words of wisdom and support similar to what my own Mama shared with me as a new Mama? I can only hope and pray that my experience this far as a Mom will help me to continue to guide my teens and future adult children in the least annoying and most effective manner 🙂 In the meantime – it’s back to the grocery store for more observing!
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you who have done their best to raise AWESOME human beings. You are amazing ❤️