As I left the store this morning, my cart loaded down with three kids and eight bags of groceries, another mama was just entering the store. Two kids in tow herself, a boy and a girl who looked very close in age. They must have been 3 and 4? 4 and 5? Or maybe even twins.
They were NOT having it. Tears on the verge of tantrums for both. She grabbed a cart, saying, "we've only been in the store for 30 seconds, guys!", with a little smile. The kind of smile that says, "this is funny except that it's NOT AT ALL funny because now I need to deal with it".
I was able to give her a quick smile of my own, along with a "good luck", as I walked out the door myself.
We probably looked pretty good to her, done with our shopping, myself with three kids younger even than her two, all in good moods and happily munching on the bananas that were their rewards for good behavior in the store.
I only had time for that "good luck", but what I wanted to tell her was "it's not always like this!".
My three are usually well-behaved in public. But not always. Like last week. Let's just say that last week they didn't earn their bananas for good behavior in the store.
Today was a good day, happy chatter as we walked through the store, minimal reaching for things on the shelves. Some friendly words for the cashier and a cheerful "thank you!" to the giver of the free bananas.
We came home and Caden and Brooklyn even helped unload the groceries - and I mean they were ACTUALLY helpful with putting things in the right places and handing me items from the bags that needed to be put away where they couldn't reach. (This is an immense improvement over their previous practice of taking everything out of all the bags and leaving it all on the kitchen floor as a sort of grocery minefield for me to pick up.)
They went off and played with their own toy kitchen, still fresh from Christmas, and played their own version of pretend grocery shopping and putting the things away.
But it's not always like this.
Solidarity, mama. I'll take what we had today. Call it luck, or a little Tuesday morning blessing. I could just as easily be you tomorrow.