Dear Mom of Three at Walmart yesterday,
I saw you. I had turned my cart into your aisle and I saw the busyness of your little family.
The older two were being older siblings, provoking each other and moving constantly like a swirling cloud of bodies around you. My eye caught signs that you may be navigating the waters of a behavioral issue.
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You were trying to complete your list, I know. I saw your frustration and recognized the feelings of “just let me finish this” on your face for a fleeting moment.
Had I been in your shoes at that moment when the siblings began to grab each other, I’m sure my voice would have raised in decibel, yet you kept calm.
You quietly reminded them in peaceful tones to leave each other alone and let you finish your shopping.
I think you might have felt like you needed to get out of my way and you quickly moved your brood around the corner.
As the cart turned to the right, I saw you smoothly catch a hand before it grabbed an item off the shelf.
You kept going.
I didn’t hear all your murmured words to your children, but I know there were admonitions of how we should act in a store and how we should act with siblings.
I must admit, I followed you a bit through the store. I was in awe.
Your voice continued to calmly speak. When one would be out of line, a gentle touch from you brought order back for the moment.
And even when I thought you couldn’t possibly have seen what your very active family was doing, you always seemed to know.
You could stop a hand or body from doing something it shouldn’t, all the while taking care of your business.
You may feel embarrassed about the way your family was behaving.
You may feel you didn’t have a productive trip to the store. I hope not.
It was very productive in my eyes.
Your children feel safe with you. They know that when they misbehave, there will be consistent correction.
That correction is not demeaning or humiliating in public.
They are learning to respond in love and peace through your example.
Your children were obedient, even though with their difficulties or childish excitement they forgot once in a while.
You didn’t encourage their behavior, and continued to calmly remind and direct how they should behave.
You have a full plate with your little family, Mom. That’s a fact.
I don’t know if this is at all what you planned for as you thought about life as a parent – probably not.
I hope you are able to continue walking with the peace and grace you showed that day.
I hope you see this note and are encouraged.
You are doing it well, Mom.