The Walmart Family

My four-year old sidles up to me at least once a day and bemoans that she’s not yet a grown up. When I ask what her hurry is, she always replies, “Because I want to be a Mom.”
Oh, Sister.
I was the same way. As a young girl I was terrified of death. Mostly because I didn’t want to die before I became a Mom. This has been my biggest dream, my loftiest goal. And I am so thankful to be a Mom three times over.
But there are days.
I suffered two miscarriages before Little Miss came Sassing her way into our world. My heart ached through those years and sometimes I would joke that Wal*Mart had a way of curing my Mommy desire. Something about the screeching, unruly children that seem to be a staple at the store took my affection for kids and shoved it where the sun don’t shine.
Now that I’m a mom I have come to realize that I am officially in that category. We are The Wal*mart Family. You know the ones: loud kids, slightly exasperated, cranky Mom on a mission, Dad following crazed Mom with the overloaded cart (and he does not adhere to grocery store etiquette so Mom is not only shushing kids, but also correcting her husband which is never very attractive). We’re a bowl full of sunshine, for sure. But at Wally World, I don’t worry (as much). We just fit in.

Unfortunately, at the hardware store that we’ve been frequenting of late (a few times a week as we’re prepping our house for the market), we do not fit in. In fact, we stick out like a sore thumb. We’ve tried to get in and out without making waves and mostly we’ve succeeded. Until last Sunday when our middle girl, Fo, had a situation with a downstairs portion of her anatomy and yelled a very private word as loud as she could for the entire flooring department to hear. Yup. The one who wants kids so bad. I cannot wait for her moment in a hardware store with her four year old.

We don’t fit in at open houses, either. We’ve been checking out model homes for a while, getting a feel for what we like for our next house. And no matter how much I prepare in advance, one of our children has to go # 2 Every. Time. We. Enter. A. Model. Home. Talk about making a realtor love you. Most recently we left an appointment with borrowed duct tape holding on our toddler’s diaper together and one of the girls going commando after an accident. I left with her underpants wadded up in toilet paper and shoved in my pocket. Which she announced to the realtor as we sauntered out. He was non too pleased to be privy to the secret.

We even had a far too Walmart moment most recently. The store part went mostly ok. Our girls were golden. I was proud and we were headed to the park to let ’em loose. And then I ran into a family I really like in the parking lot and proceeded to do what I do best: I talked their faces off. And my golden girls? The parking lost must have flipped a switch. They ran around like monkeys. Licked nice family’s car. Licked the car. I mean, what? They walked behind me and rubbed their faces in my hiney. Again, what? They walked in front of me and played drums on my tummy fat. Awesome. Thanks for pointing that out, kids. They were Walmart children through and through. And the son that was with said nice, pleasant family? He stood oh-so-quietly and sweetly, watching my girls in horror.

We had some serious talks in the car about their behavior. We went to the park regardless of their embarrassing antics, because I not only recognized their need to get out some serious energy; I recognized my own need to sit outside and cry to myself a bit about my Mommy failures. I also needed to avoid our house and the tendency to become yell mom. The neighbors need a break from her.

Little Miss was swinging when a bigger girl randomly walked up to her and offered her a sucker. My paranoid mom radar perked up and I was just about to yell “NO!” across the park when I heard my first born reply, “I have to ask my mom first.” I was so proud I could have burst.

I finally relaxed and watched them play together and with other kids for the next hour: shrieking, shouting, laughing, just being the wild things they needed to be. When I tucked the two older girls in bed, a question from the oldest turned into a lengthy theological discussion. I was able to use a moment in “Frozen” to explain the great exchange of Christ’s life for ours. That He chose us, that He died for us, lives to intercede for us. That His mercies are new every morning. That Mommy makes big mistakes, too, and that God is so patient and good. In that lamplight moment, I heard God whispering to my heart, too. “I’ve got this, Mama. I’ve got it. I am big enough. Big enough to love you, to give you grace, mercy, and to let you start over tomorrow.”

His mercies are new. Every morning. He uses my kids and their moments, good and bad, to teach me so much about Him. I read somewhere that motherhood is sanctifying and it has never been more true that in these years. Oh, how He loves us.

Even if we are The Walmart family.

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