I’m a mom of three young children, ages two, four, and six. I eat, breathe, and sleep all-things-children. That is, when I do sleep and eat. Not only do I have three young kids, two books published (and one on the way) to be marketed, a house to maintain, an adoption and fostering group to facilitate, but also an autoimmune disease that requires 24/7 management. And then there’s my steadfast husband of eleven years, the one who always gets my leftovers, which frankly, isn’t more than a peck on the cheek and a “your it” high five the minute he walks in the door.
Life is chaotic, beautiful, overwhelming, and rewarding. Some days I laugh. Some days I yell. Some days my only consolation is an over-priced, lukewarm latte and knowing I get to watch Millionaire Matchmaker when the kids go to bed.
On the rare occasion when I round up the kids, load them in the minivan, and head to my local Target, I can predict with precision what strangers will say to us as we make our way up and down the aisles. I’m already a bit on-edge when we arrive, since the whole reason for the trip is that the only food we have left in the fridge is one egg and some last-Christmas chocolates. As I round an aisle, I see her: the grandmotherly-type who holds my gaze a few seconds too long. I just know she’s going to utter one of these five things:
They grow up so fast. Treasure every moment. Yes, this is said to me while my toddler rips open a box of tampons and throws them like confetti and his sisters giggle hysterically. I guess I should throw up a victorious and energetic fist and yell, “Carpe Diem!” and snap a photo of my bundles of joy for Facebook, but really, I just wish it were legal to drink margaritas while shopping in Target.
You have your hands full! I guess I could be nice and say something Hallmark like, “If you think
my hands are full, you should see my heart!” while cupping the faces of my three little ones. But really, I just want to say, “Thank you, Captain Obvious!” And my hands, they are full, full of the tampons I’m frantically picking up off the floor.
Wow! You have a lot of kids! I could smile and say, “The more the merrier!” but I’m too busy trying to keep my son from sticking one of the unwrapped tampons up his nose while his sisters proceed to yell, “BAGINA!” (aka: “vagina” in preschool world) and, “Tampons go in BAGINAs!”
They will be off to college before you know it! I sure hope they go to college. Then they can get a good job and pay me back for all the tampons they wasted.
You are brave! I never took all my kids to the store! Brave? I’d like to think “crazy” is a more accurate description. And unfortunately, all my servants and nannies have the day off, so I have to buy groceries and feminine care items myself.
To be fair, I know that these ladies are trying to bestow experience and gentle advice, as well as encouragement and compliments upon me. They see themselves in me. They remember the hard days of wiping noses and bottoms, kissing boo-boos, giving baths, toilet training, teething, growth spurts, and discipline. But they look back and recall what really mattered most: snuggles, milestones, and quiet “I love yous.”
Some day I hope to slow down enough to really reflect on the beauty of a small hand on my cheek, sticky kisses, and midnight cuddles, but for now, I’ve got tampons to pick up.