French Fries, Root Beer, Monkeys, and Management
The other day I met with another mom trying to get to know some of the families in our kids’ school. We took our kids to the trampoline park and then headed out to lunch. Four boys total ranging in age from four to eight years.
I’ll admit, I don’t really like taking my kids out in public, especially when I’m outnumbered. It’s kind of like herding wild sheep. They do great one-on-one, or even just two, but all three at once? (What in the world will I do when the 4th arrives in December!!!) Things go a little crazy, but especially when lunch is delayed. Everyone is crazy hungry and that napping hour is already upon us.
This mom I was with has much more experience than I do at the parenting game. Her youngest is eight and her oldest children are out of the house, married and have kids of their own. She’s a pro.
When things started to wind out of control, (picture fries being spilled and scattered, an entire root beer spilled on the floor and a monkey of a four-year-old climbing over all the seating with lots of hooting and hollering and crying in between) we were reprimanded by the management and asked to be quiet. My greatest fears of being out in public with my kids came to life.
Why my kids? Why now? Why, why, why when I was trying so hard to break out of my introvert shell and make a new and much-needed friend?
Instead of reacting, she calmly continued talking to me, seemingly oblivious to the noise and the chaos. She was unfazed by the reprimand from management. I can only wonder what was going through her head, but it didn’t matter. In that moment, she didn’t judge my parenting or lack of child-herding skills. Instead, she recalled stories of when her many kids were younger and the noise and the chaos. She was exactly the friend I needed.
As much as I felt like a screw-up of a parent that day, it meant the world to me to be so fully accepted and understood in those few moments and to find a friend not alarmed by the true mess of my life.
As we move forward in authenticity as a church, I pray that we all can find such a friend and fellow believers who accept us, understand us, and stir us in faith in those tough moments when our best selves are not on display.
Director of Worship & Media