Yeah, you...the one with the cute brunette bob and the round (but tired), blue eyes. The one with the oversized green sweatshirt, who I caught holding your hands to your forehead while speaking tersely to your husband as he tried to calm you down.
You seemed stressed and a little overwhelmed.
Your beautiful little girl, who inherited the round, blue beauty of your eyes, well, she was a little squirmy, a little fussy - as toddlers are apt to do during a Sunday afternoon shopping trip. Your handsome son with the Harry Potter glasses was obviously bored and unhelpful...also like young boys are apt to be during a Sunday afternoon shopping trip.
Our shopping paths crossed several times as we meandered the aisles, both trying to cross things off our list while also wrangling our children...and our husbands. Our eyes met each other frequently and I tried to smile warmly...but I was awkward. That glimpse of the moment with your meltdown in aisle felt like I intruded on a private moment - one of those moments of frustration and weakness all us women try to keep hidden in public.
I just want you to know that I didn't judge you. I didn't allow that one brief glimpse into your world to define who I thought you must be as a woman, a wife and a mother. I didn't pity or shame you. I didn't think that I was superior because my daughter was better behaved (at that moment in time).
What I did instead was say a little prayer. You looked tired, you looked worn out. You seemed frustrated as you rubbed your temples and your husband delicately held your elbows. I prayed that you would make it through the trip relatively unscathed and that you would be blessed with patience and strength to soldier on through the hell on Earth that is Sunday afternoon grocery shopping. Because I have been there. I have been frazzled and frustrated - just trying to survive something that feels like it should be so much simpler than it really is.
So tired Momma with the bright blue eyes, I hope you're relaxing at home right now. Curled up at the couch with a good book and a fluffy animal keeping your feet warm and your heart full. I hope your little girl went down easily for a long nap, only to wake refreshed and full of delightful sweetness. I hope your young man unloaded groceries in the kitchen and then played quietly with his Skylander figures. I hope your husband continues to be gracious, understanding and supportive.
I wish you the loveliest of peaceful Sunday afternoons....because God knows, we all need it.
Soldier on, Momma.