We interacted for about 45 seconds today at the check out stand at Safeway on 85th street in Kirkland. Your willingness to reach out to me while I tried to sooth my sleepy toddler in his stroller, all while trying to check out more items I could carry, you made a deep impact on me- more than you could have ever known.
All you said was “How are you hanging in there momma?”.. That short sentence was like a buoy that someone finally through out my way. I’ve been drowning for months and you didn’t know that saying those words were about to save me. Save my sanity. Save the little hope I had left for myself. You validated my existence as I was slowly disappearing in my own world.
Normally I don’t make small talk, so forgive me if I didn’t seem friendly, but the entire ride home and these past few hours since, I can’t help but think about you wishing I could say “Thank you for validating me”.
What you don’t know is that this year I was diagnosed with Lupus. I have had to change my diet and physical routines slowly overtime because my body can’t handle the same everyday things. This past month I asked my doctor to see if I should get a temporary or permanent placard because some days I simply can’t stand the idea of even going to the grocery store because the inflammation in my knees and back are unbearable.
This year my husband changed careers which in turn has put a pause on our health insurance so all of my needed visits have been an out of pocket expense for months, causing us to budget more tightly than we would like in all other areas of our lives. In turn I haven’t even been able to see my doctor as much as I would like to, and the tests I need on a regular basis have been stretched out further than they should be just so that we can scrape by.
This year I have friends and family having babies left and right, and although I know I am done, much sadness surrounds me at times knowing what I will miss. My two children are blessings and my 2 angel babies I will meet one day, but trying to appreciate these last ‘firsts’ have been so hard.
What you also don’t know is that these past 2 weeks have been hell for me. With my daughter in public school, a change from our homeschooling routine, I think my mind, body and soul have been trying to cope with all of the changes going on with myself, my home, and my family. I have been consumed with a deep amount of sadness and frustration and I am still trying to figure this part out.
This past week I was stressed out over the health of my dog and using up all of the money we had for groceries and gas to pay for his vet appointment and tests to make sure he doesn’t have cancer (he doesn’t). I paid by check today to buy me some time to stretch the little amount of money we have left to help us get through the week. My daughter has to take homemade lunches to school because she has a list of food sensitivity and allergies longer than my list of needed groceries.
This past week I have honestly contemplated separation and divorce from my beloved husband. He’s such a good man, not at all bad. We simply hit a rut in our marriage but there is so much more to be done and to experience life with him, I am so looking forward to it now. But this is how bad I have been. I couldn’t even stand to see other couples happiness without feeling sad and as if that no longer existed in my own marriage. But it does, I simply have been so overwhelmed in many areas of my life, and I was just drowning, not knowing how to stay above water.
So I don’t know what inspired you to reach out to me in such a simple way today, but please know that it means more to me than anyone could have ever known.
As moms our everyday job is hard. Whether you work, stay at home, have 1 or 10 kids, it’s not easy. Not one child is the same to the next. We question our abilities as mothers, and yet somehow we find an ability to move forward.
I, however, have been stuck.
Reaching out to me like you did was like watching a racer fall down, and instead of running right past them, you decided to turn around to help them back up. Motherhood isn’t a race about who can finish first, or with the most amount of class; it’s about finishing with the right support. It’s about helping those that are lagging behind and just need a drink of water. Allowing them to rest when they need to and cheering them along the way no matter where they are in their own “race”.
I didn’t have to explain myself but I am in hopes that you will see this somehow, and because of you, I will take it upon myself to not try to rush through the self check out line and instead search for opportunities to tell a fellow mom that they are doing a great job, and to hang in there. I don’t know everyone’s struggle, but I definitely know my own. I hide it well (well, now I’ve exposed everything) but typically I don’t share this with anyone. So thank you, fellow mom at the check out line. Thank you for validating my existence. For not blending me in with the crowd. For not playing along to the “mommy wars” that surround us daily. I believe God placed me in that line just so that you could spare those few seconds with me today.
I am now looking forward to tomorrow. Today I am looking forward to my husbands arrival home from work, to cooking dinner for my family, and to my kids bath time (and bed time) tonight. I haven’t felt like looking forward to much for days now. So thank you.