To the girl in the grocery store….

Today.

I said TODAY.

Can I get an AMEN?!! I think I heard one way in the back…

Today, I took my children to work with me. Because this mama doesn’t have a babysitter and my grandmother, who keeps my girls a day or two each week (Yes, she is amazing!) has been sick. So while I was supposed to be answering phones and taking walk-ins, I was putting people on hold to try to convince my children it wasn’t the proper time to scream, fight over things, and, ask me precisely 89798645728 questions. Does anyone want to ask me how that worked for me? A coworker took over for me (just like he always does) so I could give AF a nap and let AG run off some energy. In my living room. Because I’m THAT mom and it was hot out and I still had to actually get some work done.

Post-nap, we went to the grocery store for milk and such. I say “and such” because we all knew going in I wasn’t going to walk out calmly after five minutes with a solitary gallon of milk in my hand. I also grabbed cream cheese, cauliflower, hamburger patties, cereal, and other things I had forgotten to get but couldn’t remember to put on the list. You’d never do something like that, right? Yep. I knew I was a loner in that. None of you would EVER stray from the list while wielding a 3 and 1-year-old. Cause you have it all together.

As I am pushing my buggy (that’s what we call a grocery cart here in the South) through the aisles, AG is showing me how fast she can run. Up and down the aisles. Much further than my paranoia would allow. I proceeded to tell her after much “Don’t touch that. Put that back.” that she had to ride. And that’s when the meltdown occurred. You know, where strangers think you’ve either done something abusive to your precious child or that your child is a stingy little brat who needs a whipping? That’s the one. In the midst of picking my (46 month) three-year old off the ground and putting her in the buggy, my eyes met with a lady’s. She must have been in her twenties or thirties, pretty close to my age. She was seriously the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Yes. THAT girl just happened to be standing nearby, peacefully shopping alone when AG had a crazy moment. Shame, embarrassment, and typical mom feelings instantly filled me as I quietly apologized and told my kid that if she would mind, she wouldn’t be in the current position.

It was in that moment that THAT girl looked into my eyes, smiled, and said, “It’s OK. I have kids!”

I couldn’t have been more grateful for any other person on the earth at that moment. Just that bit of assurance that I was wasn’t any lesser than her, that she understood EXACTLY how I felt at that moment, and that it was going to be alright.

Ladies, be THAT girl. If you see another mama struggling, reassure her. Help her. Carry extra snacks in your bag for THAT KID when his mama needs him to hush (Yes, I do that. I’m never without food.) Tell her she isn’t failing. That Jesus loves her and her kid will not scream for the rest of her life. It might just be her saving grace that day.

To the girl in the Kroger today: Thank you. Thank you for being Jesus to me in that moment. “Ministering” might not have been what you were going for, but whatever it was, thank you.

Cate

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