The earth could have opened up and swallowed me. I wouldn’t have cared.
And now? The elderly women in front of me was giving me “the look”.
You know, the one that veterans of motherhood give? The look given by the ones who have forgotten what it’s like to have an independent, high-spirited, impatient toddler. The look of “you should take care of that!”
Yeah, I got a double dose today.
Moments before I had maneuvered my grocery cart into the narrow Wal-mart checkout line. My daughter, ever impatient, tapped me on the arm and said, “Mama! Go! Go!”
I explained that there were people that were in our way and we could not move.
Easy fix in her mind. She turns and says “Beep beep!” – because I have started a bad habit of saying “beep beep” whenever she’s in the way.
The women don’t move. So, she tries again. And again, the women don’t move.
So, my daughter, my sweet, loveable, sassy daughter, turns to the women in front of us and screams at them. She points her finger in an spot-on imitation of an old schoolmarm and yells “YOU! MOVE! YOU MOVE!”
Commence ground opening up and swallowing sequence.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE commence!
I seriously wanted to die. Because we DO practice our manners. We DO encourage polite behavior from her. We do. We do. We DO! But, how were they to know?
We had a “chat” about how that was not a nice thing to say; we talked about waiting our turn, about all the nice words we could say instead (like “Hi!” or later to say “Bye!”). But, we are never to yell and say “move”.
Finally, the ladies checked out and went on their way . I swear, it took FOREVER!.
I checked out and headed home while calling my mother to tell her of the days escapade. She just laughed.
Still, the looks I received have these women on my mind.
I often wonder if the veteran mothers remember what it was like to stumble through parenthood, to wonder if they were doing a good job, to wonder “How in heck fire was I allowed to bring home and raise a kid?”
I wonder if they remember what it was like to get “the look” from another veteran, to know that no matter how “together” they might look, they have no earthly idea what they are doing?
Some days, I feel like I’ve got a grip on this parenting thing. Some days, I feel like a 5-year-old walking into an advanced Physics class. I know I don’t know everything there is to know about parenting, but I do know a few things. So, in light of today’s shopping events, I thought I would share the top 5 things I have learned about parenting in these last two years.
A donut from Wal-Mart is not going to kill your kid. In fact, it might actually help you keep your sanity while you are shopping.
EDIT: A donut from Wal-Mart will not kill your kid, unless they somehow manage to pick it up off the floor and eat it before you can stop them. At this point, it’s questionable.
Some days, the only thing that can keep you going is a Dt. Vanilla Coke from Sonic and some Dove dark chocolate – and it’s totally ok to hide in your bathroom and eat those.
No matter how many years you have worked with kids or been a nanny; no matter how many blog posts, articles, or parenting books you read; and no matter how many friends give you well-meaning advice, your child is going to upset the learning curve. It won’t even be a learning curve. It will be a parenting roller-coaster with unexpected twists, turns, and flips. You can’t get off, so you’d better hold on!
Your children will embarrass you, make you look like a horrible parent at times, and make you wonder if you ARE a horrible parent. But, when they take your face in your hands and give you a sweet kiss, it’s all worth it.
And, the #1 thing I have learned in this parenting journey??
I have no earthly idea what I am doing!
I really don’t. And I know we have all felt like that.
But, I guess that’s ok, because that’s the learning curve of parenthood right?
Still, my prayer is that in the midst of mistakes, detours, stumbles, and fumbles along the way, His grace will intercede for me; that regardless of how royally I flub up, how screwed up my parenting can be, how many times I forget to be patient, and kind, and loving, that He will be her foundation.
My prayer is that I will see the truth in Proverbs 22:6 when it says that if I “train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (ESV)
My prayer is that He will go before me.
And my prayer is that, despite me, my daughter will see Him.