Friday, April 9, 2010

Day Five - Courtesy for a Frustrated Mother

     Today's ARK was quite unexpected.  This evening I stopped by the grocery store to quickly pick up a few needed items.  I stood in an insufferably long line and all the while, there was a mother behind me with an overflowing cart and three small and very unhappy children.  At first, I was annoyed at their behavior and was impatiently waiting for my turn so I could get out of there and away from the chaos behind me.  But then I turned to look at the mayhem and my irritation quickly melted as I truly saw the mother and viewed myself many years ago.  She looked weary as she was trying hard to deal with tired and hungry children and I realized that after she checked out, she still had to strap the children in their car seats, unload the groceries, travel home, put her groceries away and probably then had to prepare dinner.  I felt compassion and a sense of sisterhood while my mind traveled back to that time in my life.  Now I grocery shop alone, my teenaged children off doing their own thing.  A felt a pang of longing and my compassion turned to envy.  Where did those years go?  When I was having those difficult "motherhood moments," I never once stopped to think that one day I would be sad that my children would be past that stage and go out the door.  No longer annoyed, I turned to her as I was about to place my few little groceries on the conveyor belt.  I told her to please go ahead of me and she seemed shocked and embarrassed.  She apologized for her children's behavior and I told her please not to be sorry.  I said, "they seem tired and hungry and you must have a long evening ahead of you--I have nothing to do when I get home and I'm in no hurry.  Your children make me miss my kids".  Her embarrassment turned to gratitude and I could see her mood change instantly.  She got through the checkout process quickly and as she was leaving, she turned and looked at me and thanked me with a heartfelt nod.  For a moment, I felt like I was watching myself walk out that door and felt a familiar ache in my heart.  God bless you special mother--enjoy every moment, even the difficult ones.

"Everybody today seems to be in such a terrible rush,anxious for greater developments and greater riches and so on, so that children have very little time for their parents. Parents have very little time for each other, and in the home begins the disruption of peace of the world."
 ~ Mother Teresa 

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