Recently, I have been getting a lot of unsolicited “feedback” from fellow patrons in the grocery store, Target, Panera, Old Navy, etc when the kids and I are out and about. I’m not quite sure what has changed in the past few weeks that warrants this new-found feedback. Maybe my showering cycle has been a little lax and I look a little more disheveled or maybe I am just becoming more comfortable with having both kids out of the house so we are out for longer periods of time. Either way, I have been hearing A LOT more comments from strangers in regards to my children.
“You’ve got your hands full.”
Why yes, do you mean literally? I am holding my son’s carseat with him in it, a diaper bag that would barely pass as a carry on on an airplane, and holding my 2 ½ year old’s hand. Could I hold one more thing? Probably.
Overall, our kids are really good when they are out, but they are kids and periodically, they act up. Usually when I hear “you’ve got your hands full,” I’m also listening to one of the kids loudly voicing their opinion about something…Jack is hungry, Caroline wants to “runnnnnn” in a store instead of sit in the cart, or various other reasons. My response is usually a half-hearted smile and a bee line for the exit.
“It goes by so fast.”
While not offered up in a negative connotation like the aforementioned phrase, I hear this one a lot too. This is a tricky one to respond to; do I say “I bet it does” or “I know” or “Oh, thanks for the reminder!” With Caroline on the brink of preschool, potty training, and talking up a storm, and Jack sitting up, eating solids, and babbling like crazy, I feel like we were just bringing them home from the hospital yesterday. Time flies when you’re having fun....and haven’t slept more than 4 or 5 consecutive hours in a reallllllllly long time.
When I sit back and reflect about what these phrases actually mean, I want to rewind the day and go back to thank those very wise strangers. For what they have given to me is a reminder that my job as a parent is the best and most important job I have ever done. My hands are usually full, sticky, covered in baby spit up, or have leftover paint on them from a Caroline art project, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. And whenever I feel like time is moving too fast (or a stranger reminds me of this!), I try to take a step back and reread this Jen Hatmaker quote, which is framed and prominently displayed in our family room,
“ You will never have this day with your child again. Tomorrow they’ll be a little older than they were today. This day is a gift. Breathe and notice. Smell and touch them; study their faces and little feet and pay attention. Relish the charms of the present. Enjoy today.”
Next time a stranger offers up one of these gems, I will honestly and wholeheartedly thank them for the reminder to soak up this precious time with our babies.