Shortlisted

20 Dec

A few weeks ago, my littles participated in our small-town parade. My husband had to work so I was by myself, ready to record every second of the smiling goodness on my phone for him, for prosperity, and for Facebook 😊. Getting there early, I set up my folding chair on the empty sidewalk, sipped my (as skinny as they can make it) peppermint mocha, and watched as the path around me quickly filled with other littles and their families. Everyone was ready to see Santa!

Before I go on, I need to say a few things. This story isn’t one of judgment. In fact, I almost didn’t write it because I don’t want it to be misinterpreted. However, I made a pact with God this year that if he puts something on my heart to write, I’ll do it. Even when it’s uncomfortable or even when it could be misinterpreted. I thought about writing this story moments after the parade, then tossed it out the window. It woke me up at six am this morning….and well, here we are.

Reminder: No judgment, just observation.

The sidewalks are filling up, our folding chairs are nearly touching those of others.  Covid six-foot rules don’t apply on limited, parade viewing pathways in the South.  I’ve noticed a little girl two families down from me.  She is maybe four and she is so stinking cute, dressed in her adorable Christmas outfit. Her white-blonde hair is pulled up in a ponytail, where the ribbons bounce when she talks.  

She caught my eye again because she is now stomping her tiny rhinestone tennis shoes, and is doing something between a shout and a whine into her mother’s face “I have to GOOOOOO.” Her hands trying to stop the flow and her legs are crossed. Her mom, yells “OKAY…OKAY…Then let’s gooo.” She shouts back shoving her hands on the armrest to push herself to her feet….Her response is angered. I now realize that I’ve heard the child asking to go to the bathroom a few times over the course of the last half-hour, but I’ve dismissed it like much of the other conversation around me. The mom doesn’t want to leave her friends that have joined her. She has been chatting and laughing since they arrived. She waved a few folks over from the opposite side and had us all slide down a little to accommodate. She was excited to experience this moment of Christmas together.

The mom snatches the blond child’s hand and pulls her across the street to Starbucks to use their facilities. She is back in what seems like only seconds. Her friend, enthusiastically says “THAT WAS QUICK!” To which the mom replies

No. I have to get my keys. She wet her pants.

Crestfallen. The little girl is standing there looking at people she loves, and people she doesn’t even know. Ashamed. Her eyes are pointed at her shoes. 

My heart breaks.

My first thought…and I nearly said it out loud before catching myself… “SHE TOLD YOU. SHE TOLD YOU SHE HAD TO GO POTTY.”

But my heart tugged again. I remember those days. I remember being a new momma. Ragged, tired. Trying my best. I remember getting so lost in doing unimportant things, that I forgot to focus on my real job. My most important job. The one where I’m not replaceable. The “being” of a mom.

The truth is, not a parent on the planet can say that they have all been fully present ALL the time. It’s so easy to become distracted with nonsense. With our phones, friends, work, t.v., football, housework, chores, social media, stress, parades..…it feels like the list never gets shorter. What I wish I would have known back then, is that none of that other stuff matters. Unraveling yourself at both ends isn’t helping anyone, least of all you.

This momma was no different. It was obvious this beautiful child was well-loved. There was simply nothing to indicate otherwise. I can only imagine that momma had planned for weeks to take her little to the parade, picked out her perfect Christmas outfit, and told her all morning how much fun they would have while doing her hair. Maybe they even sang Christmas carols on the way there. She wanted to create sweet memories. She had the best of intentions…Then life happened.

As I reflect on the Christmas season and the upcoming new year, I’ve decided to use this time to get better at sinking in. To be fully present, immersed in the moment. I encourage you, friend, to do the same. Sit. Hold hands. Look into your children’s eyes. Fall in love again with your spouse. Listen to your parents’ (and grandparents’) stories. Play.

Sift through life and toss out the things that no longer serve your purpose.  Your purpose is where you find your passion. For me, I’m deeply passionate about my family. I don’t want to miss a moment. Find those important things and hold on tight. Handcuff yourself to them and settle in. Let them fill your heart with joy.  What I know for sure, is that joy is what carries you through when life gets twisted. 

We don’t always get it right. The list of distractions never gets shorter. But your list of priorities can.

Create your shortlist and stick to it.

Sharing this message with you, friend, because I needed it too. No judgment. No mom shaming. Just observation.

I’m coming for you 2022. 

XoXo,

Lady Chats A Lot

4 Responses to “Shortlisted”

  1. Linda Smith December 20, 2021 at 7:41 pm #

    I’ve seen this too, in many ways. The seeing it can break your heart.

    Like

    • Lady Chats A Lot December 20, 2021 at 7:46 pm #

      If we are honest, we all miss the mark at times. The best we can do is recognize it and re-set. ❤️

      Like

  2. Denise Kitchen December 21, 2021 at 2:10 pm #

    Oh man do I remember being a new mom. It is hard. And I remember getting mad at my kids for not really anything important. All because I was stressed or tired or over worked. Nobody is perfect and all we can hope it that our kids see that – in due time – and give us grace for our shortcomings in their upbringing.
    I do feel for the child too who must’ve felt so wronged in that moment. The person she trusts the most is the one causing her the worst embarrassment.
    Often we parents don’t consider our children’s feelings, especially when they’re young. It probably didn’t even dawn on the mom that the child would care that she announced it like that. There is a time when children haven’t yet developed that emotional awareness. Perhaps she thought her daughter was still at that stage. I’m giving her the benefit of doubt/grace here.
    But I honestly would’ve reacted with shock coming upon that scene in live action and probably would’ve condemned the mom.
    I’m just glad I got to read and think about it before reacting 😉

    Like

    • Lady Chats A Lot December 21, 2021 at 7:53 pm #

      So true! Mom’s have a hard job. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we don’t.

      I’ve often said that I don’t write my blog. It writes itself. When I sat down to write this one, it wasn’t how I envisioned it in my mind…it was just as much a surprise to me that it took this turn.

      Thank you for reading it and for commenting!

      Like

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