Yesterday, an errand day, we packed into our car and headed to town. After an oil change and a tire rotation that seemed to take hours, we moved on to bigger and better things. On our list was a roll of paper for Miles’ new calculator (1 buck at the listen center! score!) and a needle threader for his sewing machine (that thing is so child proof even I can’t thread it). Of course JoAnn’s does not have large carts and one of my boys must walk along side. Or run. Or hide in the isles of the fabric. Or hoard different strings and spools and materials he feels he must have. You know, the usual. So, amongst the chaos I remembered I had a little project in mind and took this ideal time to find just the right fabric to complete it.
With my hesitance to decide, things began going downhill fast. Rowan announced to a random shopper, “I want to get out of here.” Miles was lying on his back scooching around with his feet in between all the isles. I was desperately searching for some brown leather, pleather, or suede or something… I just grabbed and ran. Waiting in line was much worse. There were the inevitable candy wars. I held my ground. I have been a mama long enough to know for my boys the food dyes and processed sugar do nothing but torture us all. They change. They are not the same little boys and the transformation is immediate. So I resisted the temptation to just say, “FINE! EAT SMARTIES AND CHOCOLATE COINS! I DON’T CARE!” and spent the 10 minute wait just putting sugary things back and generally being a broken record. I never made eye contact with those around me because well, sometimes you can feel eyeballs judging you. With a screaming boy on my hands, I know the attention is focused on my neck of the woods, and I try not to care what others think of the way I handle it, but I usually cannot help it. But then, on our way out another patron said out of the clear blue sky, “You are doing a great job!”, and I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmingly giddy with gratitude.
This job of mine rarely gets recognition. And for the most part thats ok by me. But on the most trying of days, in the most unexpected situations, it is exactly what I need. Those words got me through the parking lot with an angry four-year old. They got me to the post office. They even got me right into my door with enough calm and patience inside to get four little eyes to droop and drop off to sleep. A rest long enough for me to make these:
(This is what Rowan does when told to smile…)
Pay it forward, karma, random acts of kindness however its classified, it does mean so much doesn’t it? When you see something you like, do you vocalize it? Well if you don’t, you should! You never know when it will truly brightens someone day (particularly that of a mama amongst chaos). I can’t tell you how many times a strangers words changed the course of my day.
Does the lady behind me know she gave me the grace to feel good about my errand day? To give me the calm needed to have some quiet time tidying up my house and in turn giving me time to enjoy this?
Probably not. But she did, and I recognize it and I promise I will do my best not to let an opportunity to practice random words of kindness go to waste.
5 thoughts on “random words of kindness”
Those random words from a stranger can be calming, can’t they? I remember a similar situation when Benjamin was yelling in a store, and I’m sure I looked disheveled and stressed, and I, like you, avoided eye contact, and then a woman looked over and smiled at me, and said “Don’t worry…it’s not as loud as you think”. It immediately calmed me down a bit & made me feel better :o)
yes becca! fear of judgement (not even the judgement itself) always gets in the way with parenting… (and so much I am sure)… glad to see i am not alone:)
Oh, goodness, I’ve been having a lot of these days lately. And unlike you, I’ve had encounter with store checkers who want me to give in to my children’s demands. “What’s the big deal?” I quote. It’s tough. At one point I totally rolled my eyes at a checker, and really felt bad about it after, but still. I’m trying to raise responsible, polite children.
The costumes are amazing, as are your photos. Good job, Mom.
dont worry girl! i have been THERE too. A park ranger made me cry once. we actually got into an argument! true story. it is so hard to stay true to what you think is right in those moments though isnt it?! good job to you too!!!
Yes yes yes!! I’ve spent many an hour in Joann’s with wild kids thinking “just a bit more fabric, supplies, etc…..please!” And the kindness of strangers make all of the difference.
And those costumes — totally worth it! Love them!
Nice to find your space here…seems beautiful!