On being in this together.

I’m typing this as I sit in one of our local McDonald’s.

I used to joke that a place like this is the greatest form of birth control.

The screaming. The running. The children who sneeze and wipe their snot on their hands.

Or as in the case I saw today–on the back of their mom’s jacket without her even noticing.

Beautiful.

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I sit here and observe the other moms, some dads; maybe grandparents. But mostly moms.

I laugh as the mom sitting in the infant-sized play area table next to mine jokes that putting together the Happy Meal toy is equivalent to trying to piece together a science experiment.

Does she notice that our table is free from a meal toy? Yeah, we don’t do those.

See, years ago it’d have been easy for me to turn my nose up at anyone who “wasted” money on such things.

Until I started seeing things differently. Like maybe how that mother could turn up her nose on the fact that my child is chowing down on fries while hers relish the apple slices she’s given them.

That’s the thing I don’t get about parenting and motherhood in particular. We can be very quick to cut another mother down for their choices. We can be a judgmental species. And for what?

The beauty of motherhood is in the common strand we share–we are all trying to do the best we can with our precious treasures.

I see the mom across the way who cranes her neck attentively to follow her child’s every move.

And the ones in a group more engrossed in their own conversations and trusting their children will be okay.

And then there’s me and “science experiment” mom fiddling around on our iPads. You know why? Because for more than 30 second stretches, we can actually breathe and linger in our own thoughts without the constant interruption, beautiful but interruptions none the less, of children who need constant attention when there isn’t a gigantic slide to satisfy their whims.

I see many children running around like it’s the last time they will ever experience such joy again. Some more behaved than others. There’s the older boy throwing a mega-tantrum in the corner. The adventurous child climbing on the structure in all the ways the posted rules clearly tell you not to do.

Their parents are no better than me. Their no choices no less valid. We’ve made good decisions; we’ve made questionable ones. We will continue to make ones that people do not understand.

Guess what? The people don’t have to agree. If I am certain that I am faithfully doing what my heart {and as a Christian, I have to throw in, the word of God} is telling me is the right choice for my child–whether in that moment, that day, that year–I will trust that God knows my intentions. To never harm my child. To give him a life that was lived fully in the best way his momma knew how to provide it.

So, rock on mamas. Feed your kids the genetically modified nuggets {in SEVERE moderation} even though you’d never allow such a thing in your home.  Or don’t ever set foot in a place like McD’s.  That’s okay too.

Don’t yell at them when they jump off the slide.

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Ahem.

Enjoy the moments and encourage the mamas you encounter.

They are trying to make it through, just like you.

May us mamas band together to fulfill the common goal of loving our children fully.

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Just like High School Musical taught us,

we’re all in this together.

***

This post was originally written on Tuesday, April 2–little man’s last day of Spring Break–but published today to link up with:

BetterMondaysLinkup
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