On Friday, I was that mom. The one that everyone stares at like she has no clue what she is doing. Like she has one (or three) too many children. Like maybe she should just lock herself in her house until her youngest gets to kindergarten.
Shepherd has been more difficult lately. Over the past several days, his colic/screaming/whatever it is seems to have gotten significantly worse. On top of that, he is spitting up more than ever. Fun times.* B&F, though, still want to go at their usual speed. Too many days without an out-of-the-house activity results in stir crazy twins. So Friday they decided they wanted to go out to lunch, which is usually a pretty easy thing to accomplish. The problem this Friday was that it was cold and pouring rain. Not the best conditions for getting three children out of a car. What was my solution? Go to the mall and park in the garage! Genius, right? Apparently everyone else in Nashville had the same idea.
We got to the mall and circled the garage, finding absolutely no where to park. I then tried to convince B&F that Panera was closed and we would have to go to a different restaurant. They didn't buy it. When we finally found a spot, we proceeded to have a near tragedy when a guy in an SUV that could seriously hold an elephant almost backed into our stroller (which was currently holding the twins) as I got Shepherd out of the car. I beat on his window, but he failed to stop or apparently care. Finally in the safety of the mall, Shepherd began screaming. And screaming. And screaming. I wrangled a double stroller through a single door, ordered food, and located the only available table (which was "conveniently" located in the very middle of the restaurant and not near any large aisles), all while holding a screaming two month old. And everyone stared. The entire restaurant was literally glaring at us.
Luckily, a few people did more than stare. One nice man went to get our food when our buzzer went off. When B's milk straw broke, thereby causing a true toddler fit, two different ladies got us new straws (the first lady brought the wrong size straw, increasing the volume of the fit). And upon our exit, which I'm sure everyone was cheering, one couple helped with the door and putting away the trays. Yes, we had lots of helpers pop up, and I was so very grateful for them. But more people just stared, not even offering a smile.
Y'all, it was an ugly scene. At one point, I literally started crying in Panera. Yes, tears fell down my face and onto my dairy-free baguette. So what's the point of this story? The point is that we can all be the helper in this story. If we are out and see a mom or a dad or an older person who seems a bit frazzled, it takes minimal effort to offer to grab her food for her. Or ask if you can go to the drink station for her. Or go get her toddler a new milk straw. Or, if our own hands are full of our own problems, at least offer her a knowing, "you can do this" sort of smile. Because sometimes we can all use a little help. A tiny act of kindness can be just the thing an exhausted mom needs.
*In all seriousness, we are quite worried about our sweet Shepherd. I just make light of it because it helps me cope with the constant screaming.