A few Friday afternoons ago, with our boys in tow, we headed to Trader Joe's to do our weekly grocery shopping. My favorite weekly chore with my favorite people. Cedric sat in the front of the cart of the first time, intently looking around and then to me for reassurance, and smiled at strangers who stopped to talk to him. Dash pushed his own small cart (with close supervision from Chris) and loaded it up with oatmeal, crackers and coffee creamer. He made sure to detour to the sample station behind the coffee grinder where they always give him a small cup of cinnamon letter cookies, which obviously rocks his world.
Cedric and I made our way down the frozen food aisle. As I was rifling through the boxes of mochi ice cream, searching for chocolate flavor, an older woman who had stopped to smile at Cedric near the nuts approached me and said,
"You look like such a happy mom."
It took me by surprise but I was immediately flooded with pride and gratitude and felt a huge smile spread across my face. I told her that yes, I am a very happy mom and that I love my two boys so much. I almost wanted to cry right there next to the ice cream and popsicles.
Being a parent, a mother, is something I always wanted to be and I feel more like myself now that I am one. But it can be so hard at times. April and May were especially hard for us while Chris was crazy busy at work and I was adjusting to being back at work and we had a health scare with Cedric.
I was talking with my mom during our visit to Austin earlier this summer and told her that nothing is easy right now. Everything requires coordination and planning and trade-offs. She said that parenting is so hard because it's the job you want to be the very best at but it requires the most of you. There are many aspects of parenting small children that go against the very grain of my personality: few things are efficient, tidy, go according to plan or are quiet and still.
And yet when I step out of the swirl of packing bags for daycare and diaper changes and teething and keeping up a blog and podcast and endlessly picking up toys and working full time and waking up at night and on and on and on I see the life I've always wanted. Our lives are better, richer, more fun and more rewarding with our two boys. I love being married to Chris and parenting with him more than I loved our life as two. We love our boys so so much, we love being a family so so much. Although I can also be frustrated and exhausted and irritable at times I do feel that I am such a happy mama.
Since hearing those words I've thought of them again and again. What an amazing thing to hear. How kind of that woman to take the time to say something so nice and uplifting to me. I'll be carrying this with me to remind me of the big picture when I'm caught up in the everyday. And I'm reminded of how easy it is to say a kind word to someone else, even a stranger, and what an impact that can have.