Hi all! Today on the blog I am pleased to introduce y’all to my cousin Brittany! As if she wasn’t craft enough, she’d been writing her daughter letters! If that alone isn’t an idea for a blog post I’m not sure what is! So tuck that little idea away 😉
Today, I bring to you one of those letters written to her daughter! It’s a great reflection and lesson for all of us, Mom’s or not. We all are just out there doing the best we can, and at the end of the day, we’ve got so many blessings to count!
A Letter to my Daughter:
I love you so much. I’ve been meaning to tell you about this story, which took place about a month ago.
We were headed into JoAnn’s craft store for a quick pick-up. I just needed some pretty paper for a little engagement gift I was making for Cousin Jamie. I was armed with 6 peanut butter crackers – more than enough to get us through a 5-10 minute trip.
The issue: JoAnn’s was having a buy ONE get THREE free sale on their fall stuff. WHAT?! Yes, you read correctly. FOUR items for the price of ONE! I could hardly control myself. I decided that 6 crackers would be enough for me to grab a few extra items, since we were hosting our 5th Annual Friendsgiving in just a couple of weeks.
45 minutes later, I was out of crackers, but you were in good spirits. You liked exploring the store and touching the different textures on the items. At one point you found a pillow and put it on the ground & laid on it. This was entertaining for me and a few others in the store, though of course, some other shoppers turned their nose up at me in a, “I can’t believe you’re letting your kid do that” sort of way. Oh well. You were cute and having fun and not interfering with anyone or anything, and you were making me smile.
We made it all the way to the front of the checkout line (which was incredibly long) with very little fuss. You explored some of the “impulse buy” items they strategically put along the checkout line, but you weren’t phased by any of them….until it was our turn to check out.
You found something at the very end of the line. I didn’t even know what it was at the time, but you insisted on having it. “Open? Open? OPEN!” being hollered in the background while I’m working with the clerk to checkout. “No baby, that’s not ours. We can’t open that. We’re almost done and then we’re going to go in the car where we have other toys”. “OPEN! OPEN! OPEEENNNN!!!” The hollers turned into full-blown screams met with tears. “No baby, I’m so sorry, we are almost done, I promise!”
I’m half paying attention to you and half dealing with the cashier, who was so kind, but we were trying to figure out exactly how many items I had to be able to make their buy-3-get-1 deal work. I was one item short and realized I’d have to go back and select one more item. I told him just to scan a small bouquet of flowers twice, and that I’d re-enter the store after checking out to grab the matching bouquet. “OPEEENNNNNNN!!!” At this point, I could feel people staring at me from the checkout line. We were taking forever and you could tell that even the cashier, who was so polite, was getting a little overwhelmed with the constant screaming and me continually turning around to tell you that this toy was not ours and that we were going to be done any minute. I was starting to feel overwhelmed. Mind you, I was about 15 weeks pregnant with your sibling, so my hormones were kind of all over the place.
I was trying so hard to stand my ground, but I finally caved. We were REALLY almost done checking out and I just decided that it wasn’t worth the fight anymore. “How much is this toy?” “$8”. Ugh. 8 bucks was not a cheap toy just to keep you happy for the next few minutes, but whatever. “Yes, that’s fine, we’ll take this, too”. He scanned it and handed it back to me. I opened it and handed it to you. I still didn’t really know what it was, but figured it would make you happy & that was all I needed in that moment.
I turned back to the cashier and noticed he was looking behind me, at you. He was making a very curious face. “Ma’am, um…she’s trying to eat it”. I turn around and realize the toy you had picked out was a squishy, very realistic-looking sandwich/pastry thing. You had it in your mouth and you, too, were making a very curious face, as you realized this toy was not edible. “Oh no, baby, this is not food, this is a toy. You can’t eat it.”. “Eat it?” “No baby, it’s a toy, it’s not food.” EAT IT!!” The sobbing and screaming began again. I was so overwhelmed. The staring eyeballs from other patrons – which honestly, should not have bothered me – were starting to feel like daggers. We finally checked out, but you were still screaming – and then refused to leave the store. After a short stand-off, I finally scooped you up in my arms and we left.
But — I had to go back in to get the other bouquet of flowers. I could have just left it, but decided that with such an exhausting trip, I at least owed it to myself to make it complete. As I re-entered the store, I heard mumbling from the other patrons, who were probably realizing that the initial relief felt after we finally left the store was only short-lived. Among them, one yelled, “No, don’t come back in here!” I couldn’t believe someone actually said that, intentionally loud enough for me to hear. If I didn’t feel completely deflated by the last 10 minutes, I would have thrown some shade and made some evil glances and eye rolls, but I just stayed focused, grabbed my flowers, and left. (They weren’t even the right flowers, but I was over it!)
At this point, you were done screaming. Maybe just happy to be held in my arms? I couldn’t help but think that if I had just picked you up from the beginning, maybe I could have avoided the meltdown? Who knows. We made it to the car, I unloaded you, your strange squishy sandwich toy, and my new (cheap, but perhaps unnecessary) fall decorations. When I finally sat, alone, in quiet, in the driver’s seat, I just sighed. Then laughed. Then cried. Then repeated the process one more time.
It was my first time feeling, as a mom, like I needed an escape of some sort. Not from you, of course, just from the moment. But, in my reflection as I sat in my car, I realized – it was all so trivial. You were screaming, people were staring, I was frustrated – so what? I am so incredibly blessed for each moment I get to experience as your mama. The good, the bad, and the incredibly overwhelming.
I cried because, well, I was pregnant and exhausted and overly sensitive to everything, and this felt like a high-intensity moment. But I laughed because… this is life. A beautiful, amazing life that I feel fortunate every day to have. I am so incredibly grateful to be the person you call “mommy”. To be the one who gets “stuck” in a store with you screaming your head off while people stare.
I feel beyond blessed to be the person with whom you let your guard down – in the rawest & purest ways. I love you with my whole heart. I am so thankful to God for the opportunity to have you as my daughter. No matter what, I’ll love you forever, my sweet, beautiful baby girl.