Whew, it's been quite a week, and it's only half over! I wanted to write this post to collect my thoughts on a few posts I made on my personal facebook page earlier this week, one of which has gone viral-ish. I admit I don't know exactly what qualifies as viral, but the fact that it has over 1,200 shares right now is pretty exciting to me!
On Sunday, I was drained. Done. Whipped. Beat. Spent. I was sick with something nasty that had yet to be named, and at the end of a very lengthy grocery shopping trip with the kids, my 3 year old had also decided that she was done. Whipped. Beat. Spent. And it was time for an epic meltdown right as we were about to leave. Yikes. As the scene unfolded, I had all of these thoughts running through my head about how all of the people staring at us didn't know the whole picture, and I wished I could tell them what a sweetheart she really is so often. So I expressed my thoughts as a facebook post later that night. It seemed to resonate with quite a few friends and family members who saw it, and rather than continue to summarize it, I'll just go ahead and share it here:
facebook post from January 31, 2016:
I know, I know, we shouldn't worry about what other people think. But if I want to be perfectly honest, let me tell you about what bothers me the most when my daughter throws an all out kicking and screaming FIT in the grocery store like what may or may not have happened earlier this very day. My boys never ever got themselves worked up like Evelyn does and even though I'm not new at motherhood, I'm new at dealing with this.
So here's what bothers me. The people who are watching this scene unfold, watching my daughter engage in her own personal World War III over the fact that her brother helped her press the button to start the 1 cent horsy ride when she wanted to do it HER OWN SELF...they didn't see that she was super helpful in the produce department, carefully picking out pears for me and putting them in a bag. They didn't see her absolute delight when I told her yes, we can buy ice cream cones because that's what she wants as a dessert on her birthday this week. They didn't see that she patted her brother gently on the shoulder and asked if he was okay when he bumped his head on a shelf in aisle 12. They didn't see that she sat in the cart adorably for at least 15 minutes and pretended to write her own grocery list in a very grown up fashion, asking, "Otay mommy, what do we need again?" over and over.
They also didn't know that it was an hour past her nap time, that her unintelligible cries included the word "daddy" repeatedly because she misses him something fierce, and maybe they could see it in my eyes, but they don't know that I am exhausted and have been sick for a week and that I really feel like kicking and screaming too. They don't know any of that. They just look at a child who must obviously be out of control all the time and a frazzled mama who must not ever have her crap together. And they shake their head. And stare. And silently (or not silently) say, "what that child needs..." And they just don't understand that she is really an angel the vast majority of the time.
And I just want to yell, "She's just having a rough moment! She's really a sweetheart!" But I don't. I carry her, against her will, while she screams, "LET! ME! GO!" And I push the cart one-handed out to the parking lot, thanking God that the boys are being so good while this is going on. And I put the groceries in the car. And I choke back tears because it all just wore me out. And I promise that if I ever see another toddler throwing a temper tantrum, I will not stare, I will not shake my head, and I will not think anything ugly. I will say a prayer for the little one who is having a hard time, and for the mother. And if my child is melting down too, maybe we can walk out together in toddler-mama-drama solidarity. Or, maybe I'll even ask if I can help push her cart. Because those things are heavy, and sometimes we all just need an extra hand.
Then, the events of the next afternoon/evening played out as described in another detailed facebook post, and this is the one that has been shared many times over. I honestly had no idea it had been shared so many times. The facebook app on my phone notified me that it had been shared about 25 times earlier today and it was only showing me likes and comments, but not the total shares on the original post, but I noticed I was getting several friend requests from people I did not know. I posed a question in a private blogging group I'm a part of, asking for advice on how to politely direct people to like my blog page instead of my personal page, which I would like to keep to just family and friends that I know personally. I mentioned in my question that I had written a post that had been shared a few dozen times. A fellow group member wrote back: "A few dozen? Girl, it's been shared over 600 times!" I had no idea! As I type this it's been shared over 1,200 times. It was an experience that truly lifted my spirits, touched my heart, and reminded me of God's unfailing goodness. Here is it, and I hope it inspires you to be the good you wish to see in the world!
facebook post from February 1, 2016:
Another trip to the store that ended with me crying, but this time the tears were much different. Here's a not-so-brief synopsis of what happened…
I went to work today still feeling exhausted and just generally not well, and sounding like a pack-a-day smoker. I took everyone’s advice and left early to go to an urgent care office near my work. Diagnosis: A viral upper respiratory infection has now led to full on bronchitis.
It was time for me to start heading back to Lapeer by the time I was done, so I picked up the little ones from daycare, drove home (where Christopher’s after-school sitter had swept my kitchen floor and wiped off my sticky table that I was just too tired to worry about last night. I hadn't asked her to, she just did, and I was so thankful!), and drove to the pharmacy with all three kids in tow. It's okay, I thought, I'll just use the drive thru pharmacy at Meijer, and no one will have to get out of the car and it will be glorious.
Except that the drive thru option was out of order. Okay, fine, we’ll go in. We go in and we were told that the wait would be about an hour. So we left, got some dinner, and came back, where they said it would be a little while longer. So I plopped down in a chair in the waiting area while the kids proceed to take turns testing out the interactive Dr. Scholl’s display...because orthotic support is fun for kids, apparently. They were being generally well-behaved, and goofy, and the four of us had some funny banter going on while waiting because I was trying really hard to stay positive, especially after yesterday’s disastrous shopping trip incident.
There was a gentleman waiting two seats down from me who looked our way and laughed a few times at something the kids said or did, but no words were exchanged. Well, I might have said that I need to write a book of funny kid stories after Jackson called out “Mommy! Evelyn’s climbing on all of the diapers!” as she perched herself on the bottom shelf that housed all of the Depends. But no other words beyond that.
After a few minutes, the pharmacy tech came out and asked to see my insurance card again because something wasn't processing correctly. I mentioned again that since it’s Tricare (which is the military insurance provider), it's always listed under my husband’s SSN. It was supposed to have been in the system already, but she told me she'd run it again and get it sorted out as soon as possible. And so we continued to wait.
Then, Evelyn gave me the look. The look that no parent wants to see while they are in the middle of waiting somewhere inconvenient and have no extra clothes with them. When the bathroom is allllll the way on the other side of the store. The “Uh-oh, mom. I’m about to poop my pants.” look.
“Boys! Follow mommy! Quick!” I shouted, and I carried Evelyn the only way you can carry an (almost) 3 year old who’s trying not to poop her pants. Under her arms, straight up, with her legs together. I'm walk/running as fast as I can, the boys trailing behind me, and I'm encouraging her to hold it until we get to the bathroom. She didn't. But oh well, it could have been worse, and luckily, in the bottom of my purse, which I like to call The Abyss, I found a pull-up! Win!
We walk back to the pharmacy, and the tech calls me to the counter.
“That man who was sitting next to you,” she said about the man who was now gone, “he used to be in the service too.”
“Oh, was he?” I said politely, not thinking too much of it. He must have said something to her since he heard me say “Tricare”.
“Yes. And you're going to want to call the insurance company, because for some reason it still wouldn't process the prescription. But you're all set.”
“But wait, if it didn't go through, do I just pay out of pocket? How much is it?” I asked.
“No no, you're all set. That gentleman wanted to make sure a fellow military family was taken care of.”
I looked at the receipt stapled to the bag
My brain registered what that meant. I instantly started crying, blubbered about how nice that was, and told the kids that it was time to go.
“Mommy, why are you sad?” asked Jackson.
“I'm not sad.” I said. “People cry for different reasons. Sometimes people cry when they're really, really happy.”
So thank you, thank you, thank you to the generous veteran at the Lapeer Meijer tonight who bought my medicine for me. It’s funny, because somewhat similar to the story I told yesterday, there was a lot he didn't know. He didn't know Chris leaves for the deployment this week. He didn't know he's already been gone since August. He didn't know that we had meticulously budgeted our money this month in an attempt to get back on track with the Dave Ramsey plan and an $80 hit would have been a bummer. He didn't know that I really, really needed a lift in spirits. He just saw a snapshot of our family, and made a choice based on that. And that choice made a huge difference in my day/week/life.
Proverbs 11:25 says, “A generous person will prosper. Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” I hope and pray that that man sees a lot of prosperity and refreshment in his future. And maybe this message too!
We all see plenty of bad news all over the place. I'm so thankful that God used this man reminded us of the good. I am also so thrilled that it has brought more friends to this little corner of the internet. Welcome! I'm so glad you're here!
You may also be interested in these posts: