How about that…

This afternoon, Todd, Hannah, and Patrick went with the youth group from our church to a weekend retreat in Gatlinburg. For whatever reason, when they leave, I get an almost overwhelming urge to take the four remaining children out to places I’d usually try to avoid dragging them. Tonight, after we delivered meals to two families, the kids and I ventured out for some shoe shopping. This time it was Andrew’s turn and he was sorely overdue for a new pair. Like I usually do, before even entering the store I went over my expectations with the kids and reminded them that good behavior was the only acceptable behavior. Last time we went to the store, the boys were corrected by the clerk for running up and down the aisles while I was distracted actually trying to shoe shop with another child. How dare I attempt to concentrate for more than a minute at a time, right? We talked about sitting or standing next to me instead of bolting down the aisle, looking with our eyes instead of our hands, and using voices reserved for most people who don’t use hearing aids. Then we went in. Although it started out rough (“Mom! We ran up and down that aisle and there were no foot measurer thingys!!”), they soon found a spot so I could help Andrew find a new pair of shoes. It actually turned out to be enjoyable. We walked through most of the store and looked for shoes for everyone, though we didn’t find much else.

Just before leaving, a mom with a baby in a stroller walked past us, caught my eye, and asked, “FOUR!? Wow!” In that instant, I debated with myself whether it was worth telling her that there were two more not with me, but trusty Brendan jumped in and exclaimed, “We’re just the four with her!! There are really SIX of us altogether!!” Most of the time, I hear snarky responses such as “Better you than me,” or “You’ve got your hands full!” or the one that makes me cringe everytime: “Don’t you know what causes that?!” This mom, however, said none of those. She simply declared, “Well, I only have one! I’d better pull myself together! They’re all well behaved and you look fantastic!” We chatted for a minute longer before she went on and I gathered my herd and continued to the checkout. After she was gone, Brendan whispered, “That was a nice compliment, Mom! She thinks you look good and didn’t say anything rude about us having too many kids!” I could only laugh and agree. It was a small little lift that even a nine-year-old caught. He’s probably already forgotten it, but for someone whose love language is words of encouragement, it will go a long way and will be remembered for quite some time.

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.(Proverbs 16:24)


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. melissa trimble
    Jan 29, 2011 @ 15:19:37

    Isn’t it so refreshing when people are actually encouraging!! I also sometimes cringe taking my crew places because of all the stares and mostly derogatory comments! Bless that lady who was so kind! And may there be many more in both our futures! And keep in your heart God’s view of your big family! He LOVES it and calls you blessed!


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