Something happened to me today that made me feel as if I have entered a new phase of motherhood.
I always get many smiles and kind comments from strangers when I shop at Costco with all of my children (it is a luxury to shop alone when you are married to a doctor and have children). Usually I am either holding my 8-month old or he is sitting in one of the front seats. My two-year old refuses to ride inside the cart and reminds me, "I need to run!" and somehow finds a way to constantly run alongside the cart, whether it is moving or not. Sometimes my 5-year old sits in the cart while she reads a new library book, but usually she joins my 7-year old who is looking for any opportunity to run and slide into a lying down position. (Luckily we have not had any collisions or been thrown out of Costco. yet.)
We still had a long walk to the exit door of Costco.
Before having children, I would have watched this scene with absolute disdain. A few years ago, I probably would have rushed out of the store, hoping to avoid a huge scene.
But, today I felt no rush. I felt no embarrassment. I felt as if everyone around me truly understood what was happening, and probably even empathized with me. I smiled at everyone who was watching us as we walked calmly towards the door while my little guy scowled and screamed.
Later, as I thought about my reaction in Costco, my feelings surprised me. Why I assumed everyone in Costco could sympathize with me, I don't know. But, I really liked the strengthening and reassuring feeling that I felt; it was one that I had not previously known during any of my children's meltdowns. Does it mean that I am getting older?... slower?... wiser?... calmer?... I'm not sure, but I'll keep it, if I can.