Friday, July 12, 2013

Life lessons and a side of fries

The story starts with me not being able to sleep.

For reasons I'll tell you about tomorrow, I went to bed at 1, woke up at 3 with a big girl in distress because she couldn't find her water, then again at 4 with my Iwannanurse! screamer.  I got suckered in at 4 a.m. - no doubt in part because I hadn't had any sleep - and mistook his regular screaming for an actual emergency.  Then, since I'd gone in, he was reallymad because I wouldn't nurse him and so he screamed inconsolably for like an hour and a half.  Poor little guy. 

{Yeah, I kinda blew that one.}

And that was how day six of single parenting began.

Fast forward a few hours.  We're out running errands.  I'm hefting my wiggly 20 pounder while trying to simultaneously not give him brain damage by dropping him on his head and hold the hand of a girl who is alternately skipping and then slowing down until I'm practically dragging her.  All while also trying to avoid traffic and not drop the groceries.  Think Frogger with a few more complications. 

By the time I get the car loaded with kids and bags, all our tummies are rumbling and the thought of making lunch, then putting kids to bed, then cleaning up the mess from lunch seems really overwhelming. 

When I don't sleep, sometimes facing the day feels a little like that Greek myth about the king who had to push a massive boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down and start all over. 

So I did what any good mom would do in my shoes: we spotted the Golden Arches.  Air conditioning, a play place, clean up as simple as dump it in the trash.  Sign me up!

One of the only places to sit was in a booth behind a guy working on his laptop.  Which of course made me cringe because we're about as far from a "conducive work environment" as humanly possible, unless you're accustomed to working in the middle of a verbal tornado.  Or a maybe a lab that declaws cats.

We had lunch, Leah had a great time playing in the play place.  I even splurged and got everybody icecream, which isn't my usual MO.  (Future children take note: tired mom is super cool!)  We'd done a pretty good job.  Nobody killed anybody, I'd managed to save my sanity for the moment, and I was fairly sure we had only disturbed laptop guy a handful of times.  At least, he hadn't given us any dirty looks or packed up and moved as I'd anticipated he might. 

As I stood up, wrestling Logan, Sassy and helping Leah jump down from her seat, laptop guy turned around. 

"Ma'am, can I just tell you..."

Eeeeek.  I gulped and my heart sank a little.  An apology stood ready on my lips.

"...listening to you parent your children was the best part of my day.  You are a really great mom.  You handle them both with such gentleness and love, I hope that someday I'll find a woman who will be such a caring mother." 

My mouth kinda hung open and my eyes got teary.  I'm sure that if he'd anticipated my over-emotional response, he would have reconsidered his compliment.  I managed to mumble my thankyous without hugging and kissing him like I felt that I could. 

This happens to me a lot.  A lot.  And almost always when I'm at the end of my rope and need to hear it most of all.  I don't know who these angels are out there, but I am so grateful that they speak up.  I'll never be able to convey just how grateful I am for their kind and reaffirming words, which, as moms, we all desperately need to hear. 

That saying we used to have in elementary school, the one about how sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me?  Yeah, I don't agree with that at all.   Words are life itself.

And sometimes, when they come from unexpected places, they are just what you needed to keep on keepin' on. 

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