We’ve all seen it.. the young mother with a gang of little ones following closely behind. Noses running, improperly dressed for the weather, shoelaces untied and hair uncombed. And she is usually by herself..making this a sadder sight to see. Have you not seen this a dozen times on your daily travels? I know I have. I may even have made a snide judgmental remark a time or two. None of which I am proud to admit. Today, however was a bit different.
On my first trip out the house this morning…somewhere between it’s too cold to be out here and OMG I could have slept for another few minutes, I saw this young (she looked younger than 30) mother toting 3 little children. My initial thought was that of impatience as she was crossing the street and traffic had come to a halt (yes she was doing the good mommy thing and holding their hands). I had had the opportunity to watch her for a few blocks and what I saw may have changed my perspective and my approach to this type of thing.
What I saw when I saw her, was lots of sleepless nights and potty training sessions that happened back to back, barely getting one child out of diapers before there’s another in them. Many a “Mommy can I have..” or “Mommy he/she hit me”.. or worse, “Mommy, I’m sick.” This young lady had that and more written on her face as she walked down the busy street with her 3 children (all properly dressed in winter coats w/hats and mittens…oh and no snotty noses) in tow.
As I watched her, 3 children, purse and tote bag barely staying on her shoulder, and balancing what I assume is her lunch plate, walk to meet and load the transportation van with her two school-aged children, I felt compelled to say something. Heck, I wanted to DO something. And I did. I stopped and said to her “Ms., you are doing your thing. Even if no one ever tells you, I see you.” Her response was a simple smile, and a humble thank you, followed by “I try.”
I wish I could’ve done more. I watched her continue on her morning commute with the youngest of the 3 and I noticed her stride was a tad different. Her head held a little higher. And her smile a little brighter. You could visibly see her appreciation for my words. I didn’t offer her anything monetarily but what I gave her was encouragement. And hope.
I have never experienced walking my child to childcare or to school or catching the bus for that matter. I have never experienced the desire to decompress at the happy hour spot but couldn’t because I didn’t have a sitter. I haven’t seen the struggles of choosing between toiletries for the house or food or pampers or clothes for my child. While I am responsible for the running of the house, carpooling, homeschooling and character building..I am not completely alone in my efforts. I don’t know what it’s like to be the ONLY one doing it. There was a time when I used to (and with foolish pride) brag about my status as a single mother. No one in their right mind wants to be the ONLY one doing it ALL. And when I realized that my villagers were just as active in the raising and rearing of my child as I am, I knew I could no longer refer to myself as a SINGLE MOTHER. Yes I am his ONLY mother but I am not doing this job singularly. I have help. And I appreciate my villagers.
I say all of this to say. All any of us want is to be acknowledged for all that we do. We all want that little extra encouragement to help keep us forging through. We all need villagers…others to help us along the way. Be a blessing in someone’s life…BE A VILLAGER.