I got to throw a baby shower for my friend Corina last weekend. It was a lot of fun, and "fed my soul", as my husband put it. This is what I looked like at Walmart buying shower stuff, and new pillows for my couch, because what better reason for throwing a shower than getting to spruce up your house a bit?
|Be glad this isn't a video, because this baby is LOUD.|
Eliza got progressively angrier the longer we had to wait. And Abigail and Nathan were begging for candy and those stupid $5 little princess dolls, that no one would ever see unless they are 3 feet tall (like a child!). The lady in front of me gave me several "Can't you control your children?" looks, but I ignored it because sometimes I think it's just in my head. But I ended up taking Eliza out of the cart and holding her anyway so she would stop screaming. And then I heard the lady say to the cashier, "YOU must have the patience of a saint, dealing with people like this all day long." And literally sneered in my direction. Then speaking only to the cashier said something along the lines of being glad she never had any children, and grateful for her dogs.
Really, lady!? But actually when she first started saying, "patience of a saint" I thought she was saying something nice about me. I thought for a brief moment she was saying to the cashier, "Wow, look at that woman, she must have the patience of the saint, to love all of those children." And that would have been nice. Even if it was a slightly backhanded compliment. But then when I saw the way she looked at me, and the realized what she actually said it hurt. And I was so tired. And so I was literally blinking back tears.
|"What did you say about my Mama?"|
And then I got to experience a miracle that restored my faith in humanity. After I paid for my stuff, got everything loaded back in my cart, and was about to begin my dreaded Walk to the Car. I know it doesn't sound like a big deal, walking from the check out line to your vehicle, but let me paint a picture for you. Imagine having three kids, two of them going in different directions, and one in your arms. Your cart has a gimp wheel and only pushes to the left. Steering it with one hand is almost impossible. But wrestling your infant back into the little seat is even more difficult. It's not my first rodeo, so I have already mastered the trick of pulling the cart from the front, while carrying the baby and threatening to leave the other children if they don't follow you right this minute. Then once you do make out of there, you have to remember where you parked your car. And now you try to keep two kids from being run over in a parking lot where no one values the lives of small children. Still pulling the cart, trying not to drop the sweaty baby, and constantly yelling, "Hold hands! This way!... I think this way!... Oh, right, that way." Meanwhile you are all melting because it's 108 degrees out.
That's my usual leaving a store scene. But not this day. Not this day where my motherhood was just insulted and I was exhausted and at this point just openly crying. I got two feet from the register when I saw a friend's husband from church, Roy Davis. I tried to smile and said, "Hi Roy!" And he said, "Hey there Sister Opie, you look like you could use some help." And at this point I would normally say, "No, I've got it." Because I'm prideful. But not that day. I gladly and quickly took Roy up on his offer. He pushed the cart, and I held the children's hands, and we were out of there in no time. While I was buckling up my kids, Roy was unloading all of my crap into the back of my very messy van.
I drove away thinking of the dichotomy of those two experiences. Two different people saw a floundering mother in the same moment. One chose to be rude and make matters worse, while another saw an opportunity to serve. What an amazing example of trying to be like Christ. It was probably such a small act to Roy, and I know he didn't think anything of it because when he spoke to my husband later that day he mentioned seeing me at Wal-Mart, but didn't say anything about his service. I hope when I'm given the opportunity to complain or jump in and help I will always chose to jump in and help.