Last week I ventured out into territory relatively new to me. I had to go to the mall to make a few exchanges and I had all 4 of the kids with me. Crazy, I know.
We spent the morning shooting a commercial and I told the kids if they were on their best behavior, I would take them to lunch at the mall. The commercial went relatively well and so after a nap for Max, we all piled in the car.
On the way there it started to rain and I had a brief moment of panic. What am I doing? Do I really think this is going to go well to shop, eat lunch and make exchanges with all of them? Unfortunately, I did not ask these questions until we could see the mall from the expressway and it was too late to turn back.
The first stop was for school shoes for Mackenzie and Aiden. Max was happy. Dawson didn't get lost. Mackenzie and Aiden both found shoes that we all liked. One errand down.
Next stop was lunch. The line was HUGE but they all had coupons for free meals so we waited. Max must have still been smiling because everyone we passed cooed at him lovingly. We got our food and found a table without too much problem.
I noticed a lot of eyes watching my gang. Among my group of friends, four kids is nothing. Out in the world at large, four kids in 7 years is apparently, quite a sight. I am aware of this and make a conscious effort to look like things are going well in public. Mostly, I feel like this is the best opportunity I have to witness to the sanctity of life - the value of family. Sometimes I think I do alright and other times, I think me and my little ones are the best form of birth control out there.
We no sooner started to eat than Dawson announced he had to go to the bathroom. We rushed through eating while Max managed to have a major blow-out...on my nice white pants. (On a positive note, the spot on my pants matched my yellow shirt perfectly). Thank heavens, we finished the meal without Dawson having an accident and managed to find a family bathroom where we could take care of business together.
A new outfit for Max and a giant wet spot on my pants later, we headed off for the next errand. Amazingly enough, Max was still flirting with passersby, Dawson held the stroller with me and Mackenzie and Aiden walked next to us. Everyone was happy.
We made the next exchange, walked to the opposite end of the mall, stopped at an outdoor fountain to throw in some coins. The last stop was more of a boutique than a store. Nonetheless, I marched forward.
Unfortunately, they did not have the same dress in the size I needed, which meant I actually had to shop, which meant I had to try on, which meant I had to enter a dressing room with a stroller, baby and three kids.
While in that dressing room, not only did I have several items to try, I had a baby in the beginning of a melt down that I had to sit and feed. The big kids entertained themselves relatively quietly and without one complaint.
When we walked out of that store I realized no one had to be disciplined, no one broke anything, nobody was crying, and not one kid was whining. It was nothing short of miraculous. When we got outside I grabbed the children and planted a big kiss on each cheek. I gushed with praise. I wanted them to know just how good they had been. I was amazed.
I walked back through the mall and noticed all the eyes we caught. Instead of looks of irritation or disbelief, there were smiles and oohs and ahs. I returned every smile and walked with a spring in my step.
That day, we had successfully been the living church. We had shown a small portion of the world that having a family can be fun and lots of little kids can be very well-behaved. I felt as if we had preached the Gospel louder than any preacher in any pulpit that day.
Every day is not like this. But every day is an opportunity to be a good witness. There are days as a stay at home mom that I feel like I’m not doing anything for God. And then there are days like this one when He reminds me that I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing and that’s enough.