Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever. Psalm 107:1
People will quite often ask, “how do you do it, with all of them?” Well, this is one long story that further expounds if I might answer “by the grace of God.”
A trip to Hobby Lobby, then to Mardel, with the youngest six. Some would say I’m nuts for attempting that, and I would say
I am, too that I believe these boys should be able to behave well enough for me to be able to go anywhere, any day, any time.
So much for that theory.
I’m a real life mom. With real life kids.
I am not an expert teacher or disciplinarian. But I do have high expectations for behavior, especially when it comes to the way our children conduct themselves in stores. And for the same reason I always have at least one or two in diapers, I am always training little ones what behavior is and is not acceptable in stores.
You know…things like screaming. Uh…no. And on down the list of things like running around, asking for every single item they see, or punching their brother. Obviously, no, no, and NO.
Our older boys are almost always pretty good about not doing any of those things.
But the little ones? Like the two year old?
Wow, that boy!
The plan was to go to Hobby Lobby (or Hovvy Lovvy as Drew calls it), then Mardel, then Sprouts. They’re so conveniently located like that. I sort of knew that wasn’t going to work in the first store. When we got to Mardel, I thought Landen could just play happily at the train table and Levi, too, while I was close by perusing books and Bible movies for the younger crew.
I was wrong. Very, very wrong.
Landen quickly became overwhelmed by all the choices of toys he suddenly had to play with, and took it upon himself to begin exploring each aisle. Lincoln fussed and Levi was doing the pee dance.
I think I stood there in the middle of an aisle for a good two minutes contemplating whether or not I had really lost my mind, trying to shop with the unruly bunch.
Who were these kids, anyway? Did I do this?
I muscled Landen back into the stroller, to which he objected, LOUDLY. For all the store to hear. For ten minutes.
Lincoln was crying, too, at this point. Dax and Drew want this and they want that and Levi is STILL doing the pee dance.
“Do you need to go to the potty, Levi?” to which he replies, “no.”
Good, I think to myself, thankful that I don’t have to take him in the midst of all the other chaos.
I can’t even remember what I came into the store for anymore, and begin to just push the stroller, hoping to shush the babies long enough to just gather up a few things and be out the door before anyone else (besides me) wonders if I’ve lost my mind.
The stroller pushing does nothing to appease Lincoln who just needs a nap, but thankfully, Landen is happy now, swinging a rubber snake at Levi, who keeps stopping in front of the stroller.
I grab some books, a Bible movie and a toddler CD set and make my way to the book section for me.
That’s when I heard a toddler from across the room shriek, and I mean, WOW, does that child’s mother need to teach him better or WHAT!?! kind of shriek. I looked at the woman who was looking right at me and thought, “oh yeah, she is thinking the same thing I am thinking….who would let their kid act like THAT in a store!?!”
I looked for said child.
There were no other children in the book section besides two well-mannered young ladies quietly seated on the floor reading.
It had been my own son. My very own two year old.
Yeah. That kid’s mother needs to train him better. How’s it feel, Brandy?
The lady smiled.
And so did the check out lady when I arrived smiling seemingly obliviously, to purchase my apparently much needed Bible training tools for the aforementioned children.
And so did a shopper as she made her way into the store. She stopped to ask if she could help me. Wow. “No,” I said politely, “This is my fault. I’ve kept them out past nap time.” Her face glowing, she asked the usual list of questions I’m so accustomed to hearing. When I told her yes, all six of them are ours, and we have two more, she was amazed, and said how blessed I am, and how she would love to have more of her own, and so far had only one.
As I finished checking out and making our way out the door, another mom with mostly girls comes into the store, stops me, and I get “You’re an amazing mom.”
No, she had no idea how these kids had just behaved. She had no clue how undeserved her verbal award was.
But it didn’t matter.
I spend the next twelve minutes depositing children back into van, making sure seatbelts are buckled and cool air is blowing on everyone and we make it back home. No, we didn’t go to Sprouts.
Everyone safely back indoors, I announce it’s quiet time. (I think I need it way more than anyone else.) Landen has a quick snack and I put him in his crib for a nap.
He climbs out.
I put him back in bed, then sit on the couch with the baby and a book.
He climbs out again.
Back into bed, he settles down.
I settle in too, to nurse the baby under the ceiling fan and read a chapter, and hear the words echo from the front bathroom, “can you wipe meeeee??”
I guess I am not supposed to read. Or study. Or anything. Just tend to needs. All day. One after the other.
What a bad attitude.
I tend to the child asking for help, recognizing some symbolism in the situation, and try one more time to read, but the baby, who is now down for a nap continues to fuss.
Some days I just need God’s grace.
Grace for the cranky toddler that I took into Mardel.
Grace for the amount of time it takes to unload and load a van full of little boys.
Grace for the boy who needs me to wipe him (still).
Grace for my inadequacy, my impatience, my … bad attitude.
I’m thankful for His grace today. I’m thankful that He demonstrates it so many ways, and especially in the words of others, who occasionally do look on with love, with joy, and with grace, even in my struggle.
What are you thankful for this week?
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