Well, this week has started off a little crazier than expected! After ten days with my in-laws (who were more than happy to hold a baby and keep a toddler entertained), I had kind of forgotten what it was like to be on my own with the three kids. I know this is our new normal, but after a week of being able to leave the house with only one child, or alone (!!!), these past two days were interesting to say the least.
Don is busy preparing for Best Sapper Competition in a few weeks – where teams of Army Engineers from all the bases come together to compete in 50 hours of competitions to be named Best Sapper. This is a huge deal and they have been “practicing” each part of the competition. This means early mornings and late nights and not as much help as I’d like – especially when it comes to bedtime.
But, this post isn’t about that. It’s about God’s reminder to me that He chose me to live this life and that He equips me to handle all the obstacles that are thrown my way. That reminder kept running through my head yesterday as I carted the boys to a tax appointment, my 6-week OB appointment, daycare pickup, and then to Panera and Oakley’s vet appointment with all three babes in tow.
Believe me, we are a bit of a circus! The boys’ car seats go side by side in a big stroller that E helps push, unless it’s cold/raining like yesterday. On day’s like yesterday, I scoop her up onto my hip and push the stroller with one hand. I’m getting pretty good, but sharp corners or doors without automatic open are always a challenge.
I was so thankful yesterday for a pair of women saw my struggle and opened the doors for me and then kept an eye on Elizabeth who was trying to run wild as I ordered her mac and cheese at Panera. Elizabeth (with assistance) navigated the stroller to the back corner of Panera where we usually park to get out of people’s way, only to find a teenage girl there doing her homework. I apologized in advance for the chaos we were bringing to her little haven of silence and she greeted me with a smile and a “no problem”. She helped E open her yogurt, offered to hold a fussy Henry while I fed Samuel, and then traded babies so I could feed Henry. Seriously, what a blessing. I don’t know that I would have been as gracious or as helpful when I was her age. (Let’s be honest, I was kind of judge-y of moms with noisy kids up until I had Elizabeth…eating my humble pie right now) We chatted for a while, and when she mentioned that she babysat, I jumped at the opportunity to get her number (a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do!)
As she was heading out, the same two women who had helped with the door stopped by to chat again and each grabbed a baby. Normally I don’t let strangers just hold my children, but the boys were fussy and Elizabeth needed some attention, and honestly I just really wanted a moment to breathe before we had to rush out the door to pick up Oakley. (Again, a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do).
We headed over to the vet where I paraded my three children in trying to avoid the other dogs that Elizabeth loves to pet, and then another huge blessing – the vet tech helped me out to my car and waited with me in the cold and the rain until all four of my babies were loaded into the car. Another blessing from God to remind me that I can do this.
Motherhood is wonderful and terrifying and stressful and so so SO worth it, but I love when a stranger reaches out with a kind word or offers assistance instead of an incredulous look and the typical “you have your hands full” comment. We are blessed to live in a small community full of good-hearted people who will hold a door or hold a baby when they see someone who needs a little encouragement.
So all you mamas out there – whether it’s one child or seven – look for the blessings around you. They are there even when all you can see is chaos.
And to everyone else – don’t be afraid to be a blessing to others. I’m sure those four women were just offering a small gesture, but to a sleep deprived mama those gestures made my whole day!