May i just share a story about a trip to Hobby Lobby? It is indicative of my week/month/quarter… and it’s been bat-crazy around here!
I took both girls to Hobby Lobby tonight to pick up some wrapping paper. I put Bekah in the stroller (which Grace wanted to ride in) but to console her I let Grace “push” the stroller. I tried to put Grace in a basket but found I couldn’t push both – so reluctantly I thought we’d try letting her walk – through HOBBY LOBBY (all of you experienced moms already know where this is heading). The adventure began well – Grace was completely captivated by the Christmas decorations. That part was precious. I can’t tell you how many things she exclaimed over and how many times in her little awed voice she said “Mama – that’s BOOtiful!” At one point – she literally threw her arms out like she was embracing the world and she said “Mama – I love it – it is SOOOOO pretty” as she slowly spun around with wide eyes – adorable. I couldn’t love my little girl more – Christmas is going to be a blast.
My mom has some Christmas lights on a remote – and a few weeks ago we all sat around and we had Grace convinced that when she clapped – the lights went on and off. For about 30 minutes we watched her as she clapped (or stomped her feet, or jumped – we wore the remote out that day!). Anyway – at EVERY Christmas tree in Hobby Lobby – with great expectation and great flair – she would clap. I could tell she was confused why the lights weren’t turning on and off on her bidding. I was cracking up. I was so proud of her – I was seriously thinking “I have the most adorable daughter on the planet.”
So we made our way through the store. She was grabbing everything – I was one handed trying to manuever Bekah and trying to replace things Grace was pulling down. I kept giving her a couple of cheap things – more to keep her hands full than anything. So the items she carried are being exchanged with every new thing she finds – she upgraded about 12 times during our walk to the wrapping paper and back. We go to checkout – and I sneak some things away but I do purchase her a few treats because she has been SO great up until now. I load her up with items to carry as we’re walking out – more so I can slow her down and keep her from grabbing anything else. As we walk into the parking lot, I try to grab her hand. For some reason – her 2 year old self is having NONE of that. But we are midway through the pathway in front of Hobby Lobby and there are cars everywhere. So I grab her arm and here is where it gets fun. She screams, and throws herself and all she is carrying down on the ground. I am literally MIDWAY between the doors and the first car – I could not be blocking the way more if I tried. It is dark – and I am honestly fearful. So I reach down and drag her (and Bekah in the stroller) backwards out of the way back towards Hobby Lobby. Our stuff is still in the road, Grace is a total crying noodle, I actually RUN OVER her leg with the stroller… it was one of my proudest moments. I am trying to get her to stand up – I am saying “GRACE – GET UP NOW! WE ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD!” It is as if she does not have a bone in her body. With cars viewing my every move I still swat my child – because COME ON – how do you not in that situation? So one of the cars comes very close and both doors open up. I am fully expecting to be chewed out by some PETA hippy who refuses to swat their children even when they are holy terrors… but instead this sweet older couple gets out – helps me get my stuff together, and get back to my car. I am sweating, Grace is screaming bloody murder, there are ribbons and bribery toys everywhere, and these sweet people step into my world and try to help.
That’s my life these days… no kidding. It is like these highest of high moments – Rebekah burying her face in the crook of my neck, Grace spinning around in pure joy, laughing with Justin or my friends until I hurt. And then these crazy low times – the moments where our situation seems overwhelming, where parenting these sweet kids seems like the most important task I’ll ever have that I’m miserably failing, times where I am so fearful about our future or our finances that I physically hurt. And like Grace – my emotions can sometimes turn on a dime. But here’s what I’m thankful for – those poor people were hijacked in their cars in front of Hobby Lobby while my drama unfolded in front of them, and I truly expected them to honk or let me have it. I was ready – and I deserved it. I went into Hobby Lobby unprepared – of COURSE my child at some point, when she is walking free, is going to disobey me and break away. But they didn’t – they were totally kind. It is like in my life, during this time when honestly, I am regularly freaking out, there are sweet people who I think are going to judge me as unholy for allowing the things of this earth to worry me so much, but not only do they not judge, but they tell me, with love and grace, that freaking out is okay and that our situation is stressful and to feel stressed is natural. They pray for us and just walk with us through this. I am thankful for that. To my sweet friends who have caught me on a bad moment and heard the worst of my venting – I seriously love you people and want you to know that your grace in those times is an assurance to me that the Lord has not forgotten us. To the people who have written me letters on Facebook, to the amazing friends who dropped a gift card on our front porch, to the people who are faithfully praying with us – thank you!
So what can I take away from our misadventure at Hobby Lobby? Well – we did go tonight and use the gift card our sweet friends gave to help pay for the double stroller that we’ve needed since Bekah came into our home – so Grace will be strapped down from this point forward. 🙂 And I’ll start over, with the new mercies that God has promised me, tomorrow – and I’ll try to be better. Less freaking out, more trusting, doing my best to parent my girls with love and patience, and PRAYERFULLY, we’ll have less dramatic public displays of meltdown.