One afternoon, I loaded the kids up to pick up some things. We needed more milk, diapers and wipes. I decided to go to Target. I told myself that while we were there, I was also going to get water balloons and water guns. I made a silent declaration to myself: I was going to be a fun mom during this quarantine.
Shortly after, reality kicked in. My three-year-old had the most epic tantrum yet. I tried everything possible to help, but nothing was working. He started with the dreaded high pitched scream. It then set the baby off, and she joined in…a chorus of screams. I looked at my phone; it was almost time for his virtual OT appointment for his sensory processing disorder. With quarantine, the appointments are now via video and I know it’s a hard change for him.
I looked at all the summer things in my cart — while consumed by the crying — and put everything back and decided to leave. I was on the verge of tears myself.
By the time we got to the parking lot, my son was calm and rubbing his eyes. As I got everyone buckled in, I received a text from his therapist informing me that there wouldn’t be any virtual appointments, so instead of rushing back home, I decided to grab lunch for the kids. After eating lunch, we went across the street to Walmart to try again.
We made it out of Walmart with minimal tantrums, but man was I exhausted. I had two in the cart, one wrapped around me peacefully sleeping, and two by my side. As I was loading them up, an older man walked by and said, “I’ll take that for you. I see you have your hands full. My kids were once that small, but one day I blinked, and the house was empty.” I thanked him and as I buckled everyone in, and drove off I couldn’t stop thinking about his kindness.
I looked in the rear view mirror at my little ones. My hands aren’t the only things that are full. My life is full right now, but it’s the beautiful, exhausting, yet humbling kind of full.
The van is full of car seats and crumbs. I have full laundry baskets, full toy bins, a garage full of bikes, scooters, power wheels, and random odds and ends that need to be cleared out. My sink and dishwasher are always full. Our bed is full on any given night with the little ones that want me at 1am. The cabinets are full of kids’ plates, mismatched sippy cups, and bottles. My days are full of raising little ones and full of sleepless nights with a teething baby. The bathrooms are full of tiny toothbrushes, hair ties, emoji band-aids, and toothpaste smeared throughout.
But as cliché as it may be, my heart is the fullest.
My arms won’t always be this full. Regular cups and plates will replace the sippy cups and kids’ plates. The bathroom will be replaced with completely different things. One day, they will run into our bed for the last time, too old to need to cuddle in the late hours of the night. One day, I will look back and all the car seats and booster seats will be gone. There won’t be toys sprinkled throughout the house. The power wheels and little bikes with training wheels will all be gone. It won’t happen all at once, but I imagine one day it will abruptly happen. One day will be the last day I wash and fold little clothes. One day will be the last time they stretch out for me to hold them on my lap. One day the house won’t be this full.
I wish I could go back and thank that kind man for putting things into perspective for me. Most of all, I wish I could thank him for his kindness, because I’ve had my share of rude comments and stares. I was having a really hard day and his words went a long way.