Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Momma Grace

Two unique instances happened during September that highlight what becoming a mom has created in me.

First was a bathroom visit with Sawyer. I always try to slough off bathroom visits to Dad (insert evil laugh). Too often the men's restroom doesn't have a changing table, so if there is one then score for me! Alas, on this trip luck would have it that the stall with the changing table in the men's room was detained so it was all on me. I get Sawyer settled and we're chatting away as I notice that someone left their used diaper on the top lip of the table not even wrapped up. Initial voiced thoughts run the gambit of "Ugh, seriously." to "Who does that?"

But then I stopped.

"Sawyer, you know what. Maybe this Momma had a kiddo who wasn't chillin' out, maxin' all cool like you are. Maybe her baby was sick and didn't feel good. Maybe she didn't feel good. Maybe there was a line and she was hurrying along. Maybe she just forgot. S Man, I'm not sure what happened here and Lord knows I have a ton of Mom Brain moments, so lets close it up, throw it away and move on."

I can't adequately describe the rush of feeling that came over me during my initial ugh moments. A sense of shut up Elizabeth you don't know, a sense of thankfulness for my cool kid, but mostly a sense of camaraderie. Unknown Mom, I've got your back. We are in this together. Who likes changing diapers on a small changing table in a small bathroom at a busy furniture store? Not me, not you. The hustle is hard and it's easy to miss details, so no judgment from this Mom.

Next up, the dreaded screaming toddler in the airport. Hands raised for who loves that experience. No one, really, come on now. My mom, sister and I were on our way back to KC from the Atlanta airport. We're tired, grumpy and just getting over being really ticked off at each other, so we had zero patience.

Enter stage left the family of five, which included a screaming toddler.

Bargaining is happening at rapid intervals via the mom:
"I'll hold you or you can stand."
"Here's a snack, you want a snack?"
"Do you want Dad or Sissy?"
"Do you want in your seat?"
"Look, at this toy, you want your special toy?"

Not to throw my mom under the bus, but out came the "Seriously, OMG." And I instantly turned to her. "Seriously, OMG on you. You can clearly tell she's doing everything she can to calm her down. It's not like she's ignoring her. She's a toddler traveling, she's probably exhausted and frustrated. I bet you that Mom's heart is pounding so hard because she knows how people feel and she's doing all she can to control the situation. She knows that people are grumbling, so do you think it's going to help to mumble under your breath. You're a mom, you should be rooting for her and looking for ways to help."

Pre-kid I guarantee I wouldn't have said anything out loud, but my inner thoughts easily would've taken the route of my Mom's.

Sure enough, after my lengthy whispered monologue you hear the mom say to her daughter, "I know you're tired baby, it's night time in Spain right now." This family was flying from freaking Spain back to Kansas! The mom found something that worked and the little girl calmed down. I finally found my opening and we all chatted a little bit, and then went our separate ways.

This trip happened a month after I flew to Washington with Sawyer. I remember those heart pounding moments of "Please be good, please be good, please be good" thoughts that constantly ran through my head. This trip was without Michael, I flew out there with an aunt and two cousins and flew back alone. My aunt and cousins were wonderful, but this entire trip was basically a single parent trip. My son was a rock star and it was still a completely exhausting trip. He was a wiggle worm and only cried when he woke up during landing on the return trip. Still, you can see the faces people gave for the unknown they were potentially going to experience having a kid nearby; one guy even moved seats when he realized I was traveling with a baby. The social stigma is a big fat "Ugh" when it comes to seeing those traveling with infants/toddlers.

I feel we've become so isolated and desperate to cling to our personal space, when we should be filled with grace and understanding. Life is hard enough and the helping hand, the quiet "It's okay, you've got this", or just doing something without grumbling would go a long way to making things go a lot smoother for all of us.

"Jesus loved the enthusiast, the man who knew what side he was on and threw himself whole-heartedly into the struggle. He liked energetic action, as in the men who climbed the roof and broke a way through for their paralyzed friend, or in Zacchaeus who forgot his dignity and swarmed up a tree. He loved the generous giver. All four Gospels quote His saying, "He who loves life loses it; he who spends keeps." It sums up His attitude to life. He praised the man who banged on the door till he got an answer; He wanted men to show that kind of determination in the affairs of religion. He praised the widow who badgered the unjust judge into doing justice. He did not like playing for safety or burying one’s talent. It is the peace-makers rather than the peace-keepers whom He blesses. Goodness is a positive active loyalty." - Hugh Martin, The Seven Letters: Christ’s Message to His Church, 1956. p. 107.

Mom life is so hard, it seriously rocks, but it's hard. I don't want to play it safe and keep my mouth shut when someone clearly needs help, or grumble instead of being engaged and encouraging. I like that the author in the quote above says that "Goodness is positive active loyalty." We should all be loyal to Christ and help in raising the next generations of disciples and that means being filled with Momma Grace. We don't know each other's complete life story, and we need to be filled with the desire to help first and not question or judge.