Let me set the stage.
It was a Friday… whoop, whoop! Can I get an AMEN! We made it though another week! My 3 year old and 9 month old had a play date planned at a local park BUT FIRST, a coffee pit stop at my favorite local joint. (Knoxville Mamas, if you haven’t tried Spero Coffee, you are missing OUT. Staff is amazing and coffee is to die for… I digress…) I was feeling good, jammin’ to some 90s tunes and looking forward to some Mommy conversations while the kids got to exert some energy at the playground.
Coffee hit the spot.
There was an extra pep in my step.
Play time at the park was great, minus a puke situation (not by either of my children… insert sigh of relief here).
Next stop: Costco, my home away from home. Man, I LOVE that store. I knew before I left the house that morning I should pack some snacks and a bottle or two just in case one of the rugrats got hungry. Midway through Costco little man started to become a fuss fuss. ::Shoot, I left the bottle in the car:: Luckily I packed some yogurt melts and they held him off until we made the loop from the freezer section and started heading up to the registers. As I’m checking out both kids began to melt down… my 3 year old constantly reminding me that he’s hungry/thirsty/needs to pee/wants pizza and the 9 month old just plain tired and hungry, completely ticked off that yogurt drops are the only thing being thrown his way. ::We’re almost done buddy, on our way out the door::
By the time we hit the exit it was like like melt down city. It was about 150 degrees outside and the humidity must have been 500% and kids were screaming.
BOOM. Groceries tossed in the back of the van.
Sliding doors open and Mama grabs a bottle, frantically scooping in formula. Soon my little guy is content in my arms while I sweat profusely in the parking lot and my hair is gradually starting to look more and more like Don King’s. After that split instant of everything being calm and in order, now the oldest is fussing that he’s thirsty. Mind you, he was sweaty from the park and I totally forgot to bring his water bottle along. Right when I told him that I didn’t bring this water bottle, he spotted the emergency baby bottle with water in it. I almost always have an extra bottle for the baby just in case we are out longer than anticipated. He asked if he could drink it and with an exhausted sigh, I said “Sure.”
That’s when it happened…
A woman passing by looked into my van and gave me a look. It wasn’t one to be mistaken because she CLEARLY crouched down, took a double-take into my van and had a “Shame on you look” written all across her face. It was almost as if she was verbalizing “Isn’t he a little too old for a bottle? That thing should have been taken away years ago!” Her body language and eye roll said it all, she obviously had a problem with my PARCHED three year old drinking from his brother’s bottle. Her look totally deflated my bubble of happiness.
I tell you all this just to say, let’s be mindful about how we look at others. Nonverbal communication speaks LOUDLY folks! We’ve heard it time and time again, “Actions speak louder than words.” I shouldn’t have let this lady’s look bother me, but it did. I found it totally discouraging in that very moment… hot and sweaty with two fussy kids, sitting in a van, in the middle of a southern summer.
Let’s practice being kind to others. Let’s all work together to encourage and uplift each other. The Barnabas Factor by Aubrey Johnson is an amazing book on encouragement. He says, “Encouragement is the process of inspiring others to live with greater hope and courage.” We should ALWAYS strive to leave the people that we come into contact with feeling more positive and confident after interacting with them. Encouragement can be a game changer in someone’s day… it could even change their life!