Thursday, May 27, 2010

Do You See What I See?

So today at exactly 4:30 pm I ventured out to Target with my gaggle of princesses. We headed there for one reason and one reason only: coffee. We had quite unfortunately run out of coffee and I had no caffeine the whole day, which resulted in alot of me lazing around and feeling sorry for myself. I know that's pathetic. I'm ok with that.

Once we get to Target, I decide the heck with it. It's hot and I'm not interested in hauling my crew home to slave over a hot stove to fix them a dinner they'd probably hate. So, to the snack bar we go. Oh yes, we're talking high quality health food here. Pretzels, hotdogs, fountain drinks, the works. With the monstrous cart in tow (you know, the ones as long as limos that scream, "I Have More Kids Than I Can Handle! Move Out Of The Way!" - why would anyone with only one child ever use those things? I'm continually amazed by this phenomenon. But anyway, I digress...) we weave over to the counter to place our order and I struggle to maintain control of the princesses as we wait while the teenager who clearly does not want to be there gathers our food.

Now juggling 3 pretzels, one hotdog, and 4 cups, we weave over to Starbucks, which is on the other side of the cafe and the only place with tables big enough to fit all of us. As I'm situating the princesses at the table and passing out pretzels, I notice a young couple sitting opposite of us enjoying coffee and muffins. We exchange cordial smiles, mine weary and theirs wary. He is dressed in scrubs and she is dressed like she just modeled for Athleta. I return my attention to the princesses, snatching off a piece of pretzel to busy princess #4 who is still strapped into the cart and duck around the corner to fill the cups with drinks.

Filling 4 cups is no easy task and it takes longer than I prefer, with my princesses out of sight MUCH longer than I prefer (which is at all). Balancing the 3 little cups on top of each other in one hand and under my chin, and holding the 4th big cup in the other hand, I make my way back around the corner to the table, just in time to see Miss Athleta helping princess #4 sit back down in the cart. My baby was STANDING UP. Strapped in of course, but standing up nonetheless, looking ridiculously proud of herself. Totally mortified, I stumble out a rash of thank you's and teasingly chastise my baby. What else could I do? Feeling completely embarrassed and frazzled about being caught in a less than perfect parenting moment, I sit down at the table with my back to the couple, and try to pretend that they AREN'T thinking things about me at that moment.

A few minutes later a older man walks in, greets the young couple and sits down with them. At this point I'm totally eavesdropping. It soon becomes clear that the new arrival is a minister, and the young couple are planning their wedding. As they talk about vows and music choices, my thoughts turn rather self-absorbed in nature. Here is this couple, about to embark on a new journey. A beginning. Just starting out. And here am I. Out numbered and over extended, and most certainly NOT just starting out. And I find myself wondering, what do they see when they look at me?

What do most people see when they look at me? I mean, I'm not entirely self-centered enough to think that people actually have extended internal conversations with themselves on my behalf when they catch a glimpse of me with my crew, but surely they see something, right? And I just wonder, do they see someone barely keeping their head above water? Someone who looks like she'd give anything for an extra pair of hands... or a nap? Do they see a mom who's just about at the end of her rope, but dadgumit the milk is all gone and someone has to get out to buy it? Or do they see someone who's blessed beyond measure and knows it? Someone who might have to juggle a few things here and there, but does so with ease and confidence? A mom who finds joy in just spending time with her kids, even if it's at the grocery store?

I know I'd certainly prefer that people see the latter when they look at me. But all too often I fear it's the former that's most dominant. And you know what bothers me most about this revelation? If other people, perfect strangers, see that in me, then my princesses do too. That's not good. I'm not talking about putting on a mask or holding up a facade, to appear perfect. Appearances mean nothing. But what is truly exuding from my spirit, it's a reflection of what I think of myself as a mother, a wife, a person. And I know this is something I need to work on. I'm ok with being a little frazzled around the edges. I've got 4 princesses under the age of 7, frazzled comes with the territory. But beyond that, I've got 4 beautiful reasons to emote joy, 4 wonderful reasons to smile, 4 enthusiastic reasons to not apologize for appearing slightly scattered. I hope, the next time I run across a Mr. Scrubs and Miss Athleta, that that is what they see. And even moreso, I hope that that is what my princesses see every day.

4 comments:

  1. I know what they think - Miss Athleta thinks you are wonderwoman and wishes she will have at least one beautiful princess in her life soon! Mr. Scrubs thinks Holyshit, look at how well Miss Athleta handled that precious baby, what am I getting myself into, she is going to want one! And the rest of us respect you. We see and feel the love, joy, and time that you pour out to each princess! You are great.

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  2. If they are like the majority of people, they are too awed to actually think anything specific. Whether they admit it or not, people know that raising kids is a tough journey. Anyone that is actively doing it like you are should be admired.

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  3. Girl, I really needed to read that! Thanks for the reminder. And yeah, I'm sure I know which category I fall into when people see me out and about with my crew, lol.

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  4. Great post, Queenie. (my new bloggy nickname for you. You like? I just made it up.)

    I've been residing in the worn out roadkill category lately, and it's not a good one. This post is inspirational though. I need to turn my frown upside down...so to speak.

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