To The Momma at Chick-Fil-A

I saw you come in with your sweet kids the other day – one on your hip and one around your leg. I watched as you ordered your lunch, and then set the baby on the counter to dig through the diaper bag for your wallet. I wanted to cheer for you as they handed you your drinks, and you somehow managed to get a toddler, a baby, a diaper bag and three drinks back to your table without any spills. Very impressive. Honestly, I would have helped, but I was in the middle of my own lunchtime adventure.

I couldn’t help but recognize myself in your shoes.

I loved them by the way – your shoes. Super cute. I could tell that you had made an effort in what you decided to wear that day. But girl, I couldn’t help but chuckle as I noticed that just above your adorable infinity scarf were sleepless eyes on a makeup-less face surrounded by messy hair.

I did the same thing. I threw on some cute clothes, but with no time to fix my hair or makeup, called it good enough and wrangled three little kids out the door to do whatever errands I needed to get done today before naptime.

Don’t worry – we’ll fix ourselves up later.

First, it was an extra straw. Your oldest dropped his on the floor before it could even make it into his cup. And then, it was extra napkins for the spilled drink.

And after they brought your food, you spent the next 10 minutes getting ketchups opened and nuggets cooled and spills wiped.

And just as you were about to find a minute to take a bite of your own food, the kids declared that they were done and were ready to go play in the play area.

Don’t worry. We’ll eat… later.

It’s the story of our lives isn’t it?

The kids are awake early and demanding breakfast? I’ll sleep later.

The baby needed a new outfit after a messy diaper? I’ll get myself dressed nicely later.

We’ll get our make-up on, and our roots dyed, and maybe even a proper shower… later.

The kids are finally buckled into the car but you really need to “go?” Don’t worry, I’m sure your post baby bladder can handle 20 minutes until you get home… you can go later.

The baby is screaming at the store but you need to grab the one item left on your list that was for you? Forget it. You’ll buy it later.

It will finally be our turn… later.

And as I watched you bag up the nuggets that they will want to eat when they are finished playing, I thought to myself, “It’s worth it you know.”

All of the times that we get to be mommy? All of the moments that are completely ordinary and yet often completely overwhelming? They’re worth it.

All of the times that you have sacrificed for your kids might seem to go unnoticed, but today, I want you to know that I see you. Right in the middle of your beautiful chaos. And seeing what we do as important and meaningful and worth it? Well, friend, that’s one thing that just cannot wait until later.

 

 

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It’s Okay.

It’s not your fault, you know.

 

It really isn’t. No matter how many times you have thought it. No matter how many times someone told you. It’s not your fault.

You know exactly what I’m talking about. Don’t you? You know exactly what your “it” is.

It is that thing that hangs over your head, in the back of your mind, the sinking feeling that creeps up just when you start to move on.

And it grabs ahold again, and you ask yourself, “What was I worried about again?”

And then you remember, “Oh yeah.”

If only that had turned out differently. If only I hadn’t forgotten to lock my car, or I had just said I was sorry, or paid the bill on time. If only I had tried harder, or not given up, or realized what was happening when it was happening.

“If only I could go back and change it, I would,” you promise yourself.

If only…

And we let the guilt of what has taken place in the past set the course for how we will face the future.

But, friend?

That guilt? That shame? That responsibility that you carry for how your “it” affected you and everyone around you?

You can let it go.

You can put it down today. Put down the shame – guilt – responsibility – weight – and decide to live in the fullness of today.

Because the truth about the past? Is that it always wins.

When you go back and replay those events, you cannot change them. You cannot rewrite them differently. They will always be the same events in the same sequence of time and no matter how many times you go over them in your mind, the outcome of what has already taken place will always be the same.

But today… Right now in this moment… As the black pixels on your screen make their way deep deep into your heart…

You can step out of that guilt.

Because even though the past always wins the past, we can choose victory for today.

You are not a failure. You are not worthless. You are not a screw-up. You are not a bad friend. Or daughter. Or mother. Or wife. Or person.

You are deserving of love. You are deserving of peace. You are deserving of a fresh start.

It’s okay.

Leave yesterday where it belongs. Give today a chance.

 

 

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Little Girls and Their Mommas

“You’re a mean momma!” She shouted as she pushed her tiny thirty pound body away from mine.

They were hurtful words, but I knew she didn’t mean them. I mean, she did, but… she didn’t really.

On this day, I wouldn’t let her have another juice box before bed.

“Sister. Momma doesn’t want you to have an accident in bed while you sleep. You cannot have another juice box right now. But we CAN have one tomorrow morning during breakfast if we don’t throw a fit about it tonight.” She wasn’t buying my nodding head and exaggerated smile. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure all she heard was “blah blah blah NO blah blah blah YOU’RE NOT GETTING YOUR WAY blah blah blah you can begin crying now.”

Because that is exactly what she did. Her knees to her chest, her face in her hands, with tears from a broken heart pouring down her face – she cried. I knew that she was overtired. I knew she didn’t really want to be upset about a juice box. She doesn’t normally throw fits, and she doesn’t ever say hurtful words. But her emotions were bigger than she could manage… and it all led to this moment on the kitchen floor.

She wanted to be alone, but she needed to be held.

She wanted to be upset, but she needed to feel loved. And I could have walked away. It would have been so easy after the long day that I had… and she needed to learn her lesson after all… But I made a choice instead. I sat down right next to her… and I waited.

And after a few minutes, without any warning, she crawled into my lap, wrapped her arms around my neck, and began to cry into my sweater.

And there on the kitchen floor, I whispered into her hair, “Momma is not going anywhere. I’m right here. I’ve gotcha.” And while my words stopped, my heart continued to say, “If you’re sad or hurt or ashamed. If you’re lost or scared or confused. Whether you love or just tolerate or cannot stand me – I’m not going anywhere. I will be waiting right here to scoop you up and hold you close.”

And it is true…

When she goes to school and the other girls aren’t so kind.

When she begins to turn into a young woman and suddenly the world doesn’t make any sense

When she screams that she hates me for not letting her stay out late with her friends, or go to the party that is so important, or wear or do or be things that she would regret latter.

When she sets off to find out who she is and should she get lost along the way.

As she discovers her purpose and her passions, and as she turns into the woman that God has created her to be.

When the relationship ends with the one that she thought she loved, as she finds and marries the one that she truly loves.

And on the day that she becomes Momma too.

I will be right next to her through all of it just like I was on the kitchen floor.

And someday, when that precious little girl of her own begins to cry, she will find herself choosing to stay and sitting down and waiting for her own little love to crawl into her lap… and in that moment, the thought of me will be with her there too.

Because that is the story of little girls and their mommas.

 

 

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