I usually do not take all three boys to the supermarket. At 9, 6 and 4, they tend to be very active, demanding and prone to unreasonable meltdowns. When I absolutely have to take them all, I try to make the trip as short as possible. I know exactly what I want and we all head to that aisle, being careful not to pass any grocery items that would cause trouble (chips, ice-cream, candy). I suspect that most parents have the same plan. I celebrate making it to the checkout without incident. Unfortunately, the marketing genius in most supermarkets don't think about parents when they place all the candy at a child's hand and eye level in every checkout lane. Purposeful sabotage? Maybe.
This is when I usually encounter the person that I dread the most...my 20 year old pre-kids self. Remember her? She is the one who would see a child acting irrationally in a supermarket and wonder "why can't that mother handle her kids" or "when I was that age, I couldn't behave that way without getting a spanking." As mothers, we judge ourselves quite harshly. We would love to leave the impression that motherhood is like playing a perfectly tuned organ that we have mastered. Unfortunately, most days, the organ is not tuned and our fingers hurt too much to play. Add a generous dose of "judgment" in the mix and we may just collapse on the stage.
This Mother's Day, I am thankful for the gift of grace. Grace is kindness given even when it is not deserved. It is the wonderful lady who helped my son find the perfect pancake syrup, the gentleman who waited patiently for my son to prove that he was "grown" enough to navigate the aisles with the cart, the stranger who smiled at us and shared that his mother also raised three boys and it was very challenging for her, and finally, the cashier who asked if I really wanted the chocolate bars that were being added to my cart and then gently placed them back on the shelf.
What a wonderful shopping experience! Had I encountered the old me, I would be writing a different story. It takes a village to raise children and it is a blessing to be touched by simple acts of kindness by so many. This Mother's Day, celebrate all the mothers in your life in grand fashion but during the other 364 days of the year, do not forget to lend a helping hand or give an understanding smile to a mother who may really need it.
Happy Mother's Day! Mothers, may every day of the year be filled with grace, love and kindness and may you always receive the support that you need to help your children grow into their greatness.
Please share with all the wonderful women in your life!
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