One morning this week as I peacefully sailed through the aisles of the grocery store picking up a few items I needed, my path crossed several times with a mother and her three young children, who all appeared to be age five or under. While the two girls seemed relatively content in the over-sized, truck-shaped grocery cart, the little boy seemed to be struggling a bit.
When I first saw them, the mom was patiently helping her son find his Matchbox car that had somehow fallen behind a row of pudding cups. I soon heard him in the dairy section, loudly protesting some perceived injustice. A moment later, we shared the produce department. While he had been walking earlier, by now he was in the back of the cart. The woman was remarkably self-controlled as I heard her asking him if he’d like to select some fruit for them, in the midst of managing the cart and directing him to sit down at once.
Looking back, I wish I had taken the time to speak a word of encouragement to her. Not so long ago, that was me – not with three children, but with my two, desperately racing through the store trying to grab what I needed before someone fell apart. From this side, it’s easy to say how quickly the time passes, how soon some of those trying days are gone. But when you’re in the midst of them, there’s nothing fast about it. It’s often just a daily grind, with hours of mundane activities punctuated only by short seconds of mommy bliss.
So today, my hat is off to all mothers struggling with multiple little ones, trying to maintain sanity in the midst of chaos, striving their best to impart character-building principles in the midst of potty training and disaster cleanup. May God be with you and grant you a brief moment of serenity, that you may see the priceless value and eternal consequences of the job you are undertaking.
This post is linked to Finer Things Friday.